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A Note From the Editor

Mailing address: 31855 Date Palm Drive, No. 3-263 Cathedral City, CA 92234 (760) 904-4208

Editor/Publisher Jimmy Boegle Assistant Editor Brian Blueskye Editorial Layout Wayne Acree Advertising Sales Matt Stauber Advertising Design Betty Jo Boegle Contributors

The Coachella Valley Independent print edition is published every month. All content is ©2014 and may not be published or reprinted in any form without the written permission of the publisher. The Independent is available free of charge throughout the Coachella Valley, limited to one copy per reader. Additional copies may be purchased for $1 by calling (760) 904-4208. The Independent may be distributed only by the Independent’s authorized distributors. The Independent is a proud member and/or supporter of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, the Local Independent Online News Publishers, the Desert Business Association, the LGBT Community Center of the Desert, artsOasis and the American Advertising Federation/Palm Springs-Desert Cities.

Cover design by Wayne Acree; hat tip to Modernism: Designing a New World, Edited by Christopher Wilk

Richard Almada, Gustavo Arellano, John Backderf, Victor Barocas, Max Cannon, Kevin Fitzgerald, Bill Frost, Bonnie Gilgallon, Bob Grimm, Alex Harrington, Valerie-Jean (VJ) Hume, Brane Jevric, Keith Knight, Christina Lange, Marylee Pangman, Erin Peters, Deidre Pike, Anita Rufus, Jen Sorenson, Paul VanDevelder, Robert Victor, Sandra Zellmer

I recently received an email from a person who works at a local advertising agency, requesting coverage of an event. “Or all features given to advertisers?” the email said. “If so I understand.” Sigh. I sent a polite reply, explaining that advertising has nothing to do with our editorial coverage. (And, yes, we did cover the event, even though we didn’t receive any advertising—simply because it was an event worthy of coverage.) Sadly, emails like this to Independent World Headquarters are fairly common. These days—and in this valley, in particular—it’s fairly common for “legitimate” publications to sell editorial coverage along with advertising. This is an ethically questionable practice to begin with—and it’s downright wrong for publications to sell coverage without labeling that coverage as advertising. Yet it happens all the time. Every journalism school in the country teaches classes warning against “pay for play” practices—and it turns out that many in the advertising industry warn against it, too. The American Advertising Federation (of which the Independent, as well as almost every local advertising agency, is a member) is part of an Institute for Advertising Ethics, in partnership with the Reynolds Journalism Institute of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. In 2011, that Institute for Advertising Ethics released a list of eight advertising “principles and practices.” The introduction to the list, in part, reads: “The eight Principles and Practices presented here are the foundation on which the Institute for Advertising Ethics (IAE) was created. They are based on the premise that all forms of communications, including advertising, should always do what is right for consumers, which in turn is right for business as well. For while we are in an age of unparalleled change, this overriding truth never changes.” (Emphasis is theirs.) As for Principle No. 3, it reads: “Advertisers should clearly distinguish advertising, public relations and corporate communications from news and editorial content and entertainment, both online and offline.” That’s why we here at the Coachella Valley Independent never, ever promise editorial coverage as part of an advertising deal, nor will we ever write/publish something just to make an existing advertiser happy. As it says in our mission statement: “We believe in true, honest journalism: We want to afflict the comfortable, and comfort the afflicted. We want to be a mirror for the entire Coachella Valley. We want to inform, enlighten and entertain. We will never let advertisers determine what we cover, and how we cover things. In other words, we will always tell it how we see it.” Allene Arthur, the locally legendary columnist for The Desert Sun who recently turned 90, is the subject of a lovely feature on Page 12. She summed up this issue best: “I write for the reader—not the advertiser or the people being written about, but the reader!” Amen, Allene. Welcome to the February 2014 edition of the Coachella Valley Independent.

—Jimmy Boegle,






Now Is the Time to Start Talking About End-of-Life Decisions


By Anita Rufus ecent news items have demonstrated how difficult end-of-life decisions can be. Jahi McMath, of Oakland, was only 13 when she suffered complications after routine surgery related to sleep apnea, and was declared “brain dead” by doctors, indicating “complete cessation of brain activity.” She was placed on artificial life support, but her “life” wasn’t supported: Her body was merely kept breathing by machine. McMath’s parents wouldn’t accept the doctors’ verdict: As long as her heart was beating, they believed she was still alive. The parents’ very public fight with the hospital, which wouldn’t perform “unethical” medical procedures and life support on what they considered a dead person, finally led to a compromise: She was officially declared “dead.” Her body was then moved to another facility which agreed to continue the life support. A second case involves Marlise Muñoz, of Fort Worth, Texas, who died due to a possible blood clot— while she was 14 weeks pregnant. According to one interpretation of Texas law, Muñoz cannot be removed from life support, although diagnosed as brain dead, because medical intervention is keeping her fetus alive. Her husband and her parents support terminating life support, and he is suing the hospital based on his legal right to act as a surrogate for medical decisions affecting his wife. He claims they had many discussions about end-of-life choices (both are emergency medical personnel and well aware of the ramifications), and that she would not want her body artificially sustained, regardless of the pregnancy. The condition of the fetus is not clear; it may have sustained serious damage due to a lack of oxygen after Muñoz’s sudden illness. The third article that brought this subject together for me concerned the death of Ariel Sharon, former prime minister of Israel, after spending more than eight years in a “coma.” Although in a “vegetative” state—he apparently lacked consciousness or cognition—he still had some brain function. Sharon’s life was sustained at his family’s request until he died at the age of 85. If you were in a coma, would you want your life to be sustained by machines, as you languish immobile in a hospital bed for eight years? If not, you’d better tell someone! Carl Hiaasen, a Florida columnist, wrote after the highly publicized Terry Schiavo case: “…[I]f a reasonable amount of time passes—say (fill in the blank) months—and I fail to sit up and ask for a cold beer, it should be presumed that I won’t ever get better. When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my spouse, children and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes and call it a day.” John Wisor, of Palm Springs, is president of The Living End, a local nonprofit which focuses on end-of-life decision-making. (Full disclosure: I am a member of The Living End’s board.) The organization is supporting a pending book on the subject, which I am writing. “Our mission is to educate both professionals and the public regarding the importance of having discussions with loved ones about the choices one wants to make for treatment at the end

of life,” Wisor says. “This should not be a decision left to chance, or even to doctors. The right to refuse treatment has been affirmed as an individual right, and Congress passed a Patient SelfDetermination Act in 1990 enshrining that right for every individual over age 18. “This is one of the most personal choices one will ever make in one’s lifetime, and it is important to not only have the conversations, but also to put one’s wishes in a legally binding writing and then ensure that they will be respected. We can help.” According to the California Healthcare Foundation’s extensive 2012 survey, as many as 60 percent of Californians say these decisions are “extremely important”—and yet 56 percent have never communicated their wishes to family or doctors. And while 82 percent say it is important to put their choices in writing, less than 25 percent have ever done so, in spite of free forms made available by the state. “We recommend using the form Five Wishes,” says Wisor, because each state implemented the law with their own forms, and what works in one state might not work in another. Five Wishes forms ( are valid in 42 states. “People have such difficulty having these discussions, and these forms include not only the legal decisions—like who you want to speak for you if you can’t speak for yourself, and what treatments you do or do not want—but also non-legally binding things that a stressed-out family might not consider. “Even with written forms and clear communication, one’s own choices do not necessarily prevail, but without them, one is at the mercy of professionals or legislatures whose influence can overwhelm the situation.” Anyone who has experienced end-of-life situations knows how problematic they can be. I’ve seen my own share of horror stories. There was the drug-addict son who claimed to have his mother’s consent to act as her surrogate, and prevailed over other siblings who wanted their cancer-riddled mother

to receive the most aggressive pain relief possible, even if it might hasten her death. He maintained they were trying to kill her. The hospital delayed for days until it became clear he did not have any legal authority. That family’s relationships never recovered. Then there was the gay man whose family disowned him when he came out—and then his family overruled his long-time partner’s ability to act as his surrogate. There was no writing to validate his wishes. I once knew an elderly couple who had discussed their preference for no extreme measures for many years, and even named each other as a surrogate for decision-making—but when push came to shove, the wife couldn’t bring herself to end life support for her husband, even when all hope was gone. A recent effort, “Let’s Have Dinner and Talk About Death” (, encourages discussions that help people plan for decisions that might need to be made. As for me, I don’t want to be kept alive to make everyone else feel better if I can’t be an active participant. And I especially don’t want anyone to feel guilty about whatever decision is made—I want it to be my choice, not the courts’ choice, or the state’s choice, or even my family’s choice. For heaven’s sake, and your own, talk about it! To reach The Living End, email Anita Rufus is also known as “The Lovable Liberal,” and her radio show airs Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on KNews Radio 94.3 FM. Know Your Neighbors appears every other week at





Why Not Consider Using a Bicycle to Get Around the Valley?


By Christina Lange hen I was a small child, in a little village in Southern Germany, my bike was my golden key to exploration, adventure and new worlds. I lived in Africa between the ages of 5 and 8; I liked to wear turquoise saris and pedal my massive maroon bike through the dusty fields and back roads. When my family moved to the suburbs of the Eastern U.S., my embarrassing orangecream-and-white bike got me to town, to the library, to civilization. Then came that magic age of 16, and the freedom to drive. I could go farther than the library! My bike got dusty in the garage. Fast-forward a decade. I was 26 and had been living in London for seven years. I had no need for a car (and was too broke to have one anyway), but was getting sick of public transportation— buses not showing up in the pouring rain, getting onto said buses with seemingly hundreds of others, etc. A good friend of mine, Laura, was using her bike as her primary form of transportation, and she convinced me to give a bike a shot. I got myself a super-cheap bike and began to cycle. I loved it—the wind, the air, the energy, the rush of being outside and propelling myself forward to the destination! No matter what the weather conditions were, I loved it. Then I moved to Salton City. When I first moved there, I cycled along State Route 86 between home and my job at the casino—yes, even at night. I was lit up like a Christmas tree— and it got pretty hairy at times along the highway, but it still beat sitting on my behind in a car. I recently moved into the Coachella Valley proper, and I continue taking my trusty bike (upgraded now with slimmer wheels) out when I can. My bike played a part in my move: I figured I could cycle more and drive less—to work, to the stores, to dance class, to social gatherings, to events, and just for shits and giggles. But … where is everybody? I do not see many other people who use the bike as a method of getting around—and I wonder why. We live in a fair climate area, with wide avenues, blue skies and acceptable temperatures at least three-quarters of the year. Many bike lanes are in place, yet they are hardly being used. As for the few cyclists who are out there, there are predominantly two types: the poor, who have no alternative but to cycle (and take the bus); and the rich, who ride in carbon-fibered pedaling packs. Where is everyone else? Why aren’t people beyond those two extremes using bikes to get around? Is it fear? Does it take too long to get places? Do people not even consider bikes as a fun and pleasurable alternative/option? According to the National Highway Traffic Administration’s most recent National Survey of Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behavior, only 5 percent of the people interviewed nationally use a bike to commute to work or school. Granted, some of the local bike lanes are funky—way too narrow, half on sidewalks, etc.—and what’s with switching to and from a cycle lane every other block on Eisenhower Drive? These issues certainly need to be addressed; some cities do better than others. CV Link will benefit the whole community,

but that project is years away. Still, today, there are many bike lanes—and overall, that’s good! Of course, bike lanes aren’t the only concern; aggressive or inattentive motorists are a huge reason why many people are afraid to cycle. Drivers need to be more educated about sharing the road with cyclists, and should understand what it feels like to be passed too closely by a car. Thank goodness the 3-foot law (requiring cars to stay at least 36 inches away from cyclists) goes into effect later this year!

Motorists: We bicyclists are not trying to piss you off; we’re just trying to get from here to there. And don’t ever yell at a cyclist to “get the fuck off the road.” We have every right to be on the road. And to those of you who cry out about rulebending cyclists: Please make sure you are an obedient driver who never speeds, never runs yellow lights, never texts and never breaks any other driving rules. Otherwise, you’re a hypocrite—a hypocrite who can kill me with your vehicle. Yes, people die while riding their bikes. About 2 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States in 2011 were cyclists. That’s too many people—but far, far more pedestrians and motorists get killed in accidents than bicyclists do. An enormous positive aspect of cycling is health and happiness. When I drive, especially long distances, I often arrive lethargic and tired. When I cycle, I feel more positive, have more energy, and can concentrate better. I am not the only one who feels this way! Of course, bicycling is not always a viable option; there are often real reasons to take the car. But when there is not a real reason … consider bicycling. Your body, your mind, your bank account and your environment will all thank you.





How Can We Humanize Illegal Immigrants in the United States?



By Gustavo Arellano EAR MEXICAN: How do we humanize the illegals in this country? My reasons for asking this question are many, including a very personal one. I’ve been in this country illegally for 16 years, y ya chole no? For 16 years, I lived my life like anyone else—going to school and working. Eventually, I became a public-school teacher. It is too long to explain how I did all this. I knew it would come to an end at some point—as the gringos say, the shit would hit the fan eventually. Well, it has, and now I am a nanny to my best friend’s kid. We were talking one day and decided that if anything were to happen—if I was arrested or in trouble for some reason—she could be judged as a bad mother for leaving her child with a criminal such as myself. But I am no criminal. I’ve never done anything wrong. I was brought here when I was 14 years old, so I had no choice. The only wrong I’ve done is run across with the rest of mi gente; the only difference is that I didn’t know why I had to do it. I was only obeying my family. So how do we share this with the rest of the world so that people see that we mojados are people with feelings, families, friends, schooling, hobbies, ideas and ambitions? We’re only missing a few papers along the way. Tu Paisa Jarocha DEAR CHICA FROM VERACRUZ: Easy—by telling your story and that of people like ustedes to the rest of America until you’re azul in the face. By calling politicians, from your local school-board members to Barack Obama. And, finally, by telling everyone to no longer refer to undocumented folks as “illegals”—unless it’s a satirist with a point, of course! DEAR MEXICAN: One of my pet peeves: Latinos who pronounce their last names with Anglo accents—for example, Rod-driguez instead of Roh-driguez. I would love it if you’d address this. Personally, I believe we Latinos should educate Anglos on correct pronunciation. Gomez the Groper DEAR WAB: Before you start correcting Anglos and pochos

on how to properly pronounce Hispanic surnames, you might want to take a remedial course—it’s Roh-drEE-gehz (emphasis on the second syllable; hence the use of an accent over the i in Rodríguez). But your question reminds me of a Hollywood story; it might just be apocryphal, but it’s a good one. Seems there was a Mexican who wanted to make it into the film industry as a—take your pick—writer, producer or director. His last name was Torres, and he couldn’t find a gig. Desperate, the man changed his last name to Towers, and he cried all the way to the bank. Moral of the story? While custodians of Cervantes want everyone to pronounce all Spanish words in a way that satisfies the Real Academia Española, people are going to call themselves whatever they want, and change how they pronounce their own names if it makes them feel better. Of course, if a gabacho does it, then we cry racism all the way to the banco. DEAR MEXICAN: I suggest you replace the ¡Ask a Mexican! column (They are a dime a dozen, and don’t we already know by now what they think?) with Ask an Anglo, Social

Conservative Male, as we are the new minority, and we are ready to be embraced, welcomed, defended and promoted as a victimized demographic. I volunteer. Iowan Idiot DEAR GABACHO: Sorry—Hugh Hewitt already took that pendejo gig. Catch the Mexican every Wednesday morning at Ask the Mexican at; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or ask him a video question at!





It’s Not That Hard to Grow Roses Here; They Just Need a Little TLC


By MARYLEE PANGMAN ne of the biggest gardening misconceptions desert newcomers have is that it’s hard to grow roses here. In fact, roses can do well in the desert; I grow beautiful roses at my home, and they are no harder to grow and care for than citrus trees and seasonal potted annuals. The practice of growing roses in pots at desert homes has grown significantly in the past decade. It makes sense; potted roses offer ease in planting and maintenance, as well as flexibility in placement. Here are some tips on enjoying great roses in the Coachella Valley. Pot Size When it comes to pots for roses, bigger is often better! For roses 4 feet tall or more (such as floribundas, climbers, standard tree roses and hybrid teas), choose pots that are a minimum of 24 inches in diameter, and 22 to 24 inches deep. Roses need a lot of root room. Roses less than 4 feet tall (ground cover and miniature varieties) will do best in pots that are at least 16 to 18 inches in diameter, and equally tall. As for putting tiny or cascading roses in small pots and/or hanging baskets: It may be fun to try, but they’ll be quite difficult to keep watered during the summer! Pot Materials Terra Cotta and other clay pots; whiskey barrels; glazed ceramic pots; and double-walled lightweight pots are all suitable for roses. Check to see that each pot has a hole in the bottom for draining. If there isn’t one, drill a one-inch hole. Be sure there is air space under the pot by raising the pot off your deck, your patio or the ground with pot feet, bricks or a pot stand. Do not place the pot directly into a saucer. Planting Nurseries will be happy to help you select an ideal potting mix that allows for good drainage, plenty of air space and moisture retention. I also recommend adding super phosphate to help with root development, as well as a slowrelease fertilizer. • Place a folded coffee filter or a windowscreen square over the hole in the bottom of the pot to allow drainage, but retain the soil. • Gently remove the rose from the pot in

which it came, and untangle matted roots. You want to encourage the roots to move out in the new container. • Add potting mix to bottom of the new pot so that the top of the root ball will rest within a couple of inches of the rim. • Add super phosphate and fertilizer into the potting soil. • Add potting mix around the root ball, pressing the soil firmly as you work. The final fill line should be no more than two inches from the rim of the pot and level with the top of the root ball. (If you over-fill the pot with soil, you will lose soil when you water.) • Mulch with a 1-to-2-inch layer of compost or bark to conserve moisture and keep weeds from sprouting in the pot. If You’re Planting a Bare-Root Rose • Form a small mound of moistened potting mix in the bottom of the pot. • Place the plant on the mound, fanning the roots out in a circle to cover it. • Add potting mix to fill around the roots. • Level the rose so the crown (the graph of the rose to its root stock) is 1 to 2 inches below the rim of the pot. • Fill the pot up to the rose’s crown. • Water thoroughly, but gently, to settle the soil. Caring for Your Potted Roses Place your rose in a sunny and airy location that gets at least six hours of full sun and some afternoon shade. Space pots about 2 feet apart (to reduce the possible spread of fungusrelated rose diseases). Potted roses will need daily deep watering in the summer, and watering every two to three days in the winter. Each time you water, you

should see water draining from the bottom of the pot. This is good: It reduces salt buildup in the soil. Add soil if needed. Fertilize and prune established potted roses the same as you would ground-planted roses. Your Shopping List: • One rose plant of your choice. • Potting soil. • Pot with a hole. • Pot feet or something else to lift the pot.

• Coffee filter. • Time-release fertilizer. • Super phosphate (fertilizer). • Bark mulch. Marylee is the founder and former owner of The Contained Gardener in Tucson, Ariz. She has become known as the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Email her with comments and questions at potteddesert@, and follow the Potted Desert on Facebook. The Potted Desert Garden appears weekly at



➑ A chat with DHS mayor Adam Sanchez ➒ February Astronomy ⓫ California’s mega-drought: How did we get here? ⓬ The life and times of Allene Arthur ⓭ Snapshot: Bill Clinton, the Humana Challenge and much more


The stars may get all of the attention at the Palm Springs International Film Fest—but the event couldn't happen without its loyal volunteers







Adam Sanchez’s Goal: Return Desert Hot Springs to Financial Stability While Promoting Health and Wellness

By Brian Blueskye here is no question that the city of Desert Hot Springs is in financial trouble: The city is facing a deficit of $6 million or more. However, bankruptcy is off the table, as far as the newly elected mayor, Adam Sanchez, is concerned. Sanchez was elected to the DHS City Council in 2011, and ran for mayor against incumbent Yvonne Parks in 2013. Sanchez won by the narrowest of margins—12 votes. During a recent interview with the Independent, Sanchez discussed the economic issues that Desert Hot Springs faces, as well as his plans for the city, and his first month in office. “It feels like it’s been a year,” Sanchez said. “I think the obvious reason why is because one day after the election, we’re told by the mayor, the city manager and finance director that we have a deficit of $6.9 million. Hearing that right after the election, it’s enough to make you stop in your shoes and start thinking about where this started going wrong—and (why) didn’t anybody notice it? Since then, it’s been basically a quick rollercoaster ride, going down. Being on a roller coaster going down, you’re holding on. The last month has been holding on and trying to figure out how to go about reducing the deficit, because we know we have to be at a balanced budget by June 30.” In a recent interview with The New York Times, Sanchez attributed much of the deficit to Desert Hot Springs’ police force and city employees, along with their pension plans. While many American cities that have gone through financial stresses have placed the blame on city employees and their pensions, Sanchez said it’s a bit more complex than that when it comes to Desert Hot Springs. However, in a city of 27,000 people, there are no questions that some of the city’s salary figures are mindboggling—and smell of possible corruption. “I think the biggest concern came when they did the numbers on the police department: They were working the regular shifts, but also double shifts,” Sanchez said. “The detectives were working overtime constantly. Most of the detectives worked during the day, but the crimes happen at night, so why pull them out again? When they did the breakdown on it, they were averaging $200,000 a year per police officer. A study came back and showed that we were the 20th-highest in the state for paid employees.” Sanchez said other employees within city government were also taking advantage of a flawed system. “We had a city manager making $217,000 as part of his salary, and then $900 a month for a car allowance,” Sanchez said. “When you look across the state and cities similar to ours, the city manager is making anywhere from $140,000 to $160,000. On top of that, the police chief’s salary went up, too. … All of a sudden, you have a police chief who could be making close to $190,000.” Sanchez said that while he was on the City Council under Parks’ leadership, he was hesitant to vote for any of the city budgets without transparency and full disclosure. “With the prior administration, when they did the audits, a lot of this was kept private from us. … In the two years I was on the City Council, I was never asked to sit down with the auditors and look over their reports; none of us were. The only ones who were that I’m aware of were the mayor and city manager. A lot of us were left out of the loop from the entire process.” Sanchez didn’t list that as the only issue; he said he’s learning a lot from an audit, still taking place, that Sanchez ordered after

he took office. “Within the police department alone, they had their own budget analyst who was working with the police chief and city manager, and the city had its own finance director. We had two different analysts, and they weren’t communicating with each other.” Sanchez has pledged that there will be more transparency under his administration. “We’re trying to put together a system where the city manager, the finance director, the mayor and the whole council will act as one finance committee. Before, it was the mayor and the mayor pro-tems that did it along with the city manager, so the City Council was left out. … Everybody needs to be communicating, and we can’t afford to be overspending.” Of course, more business development in Desert Hot Springs could help the city avoid future budget problems. “Right now, Two Bunch Palms resort wants to do a major expansion. … They want to create a whole new spa area, a new dining area, and add additional condos. They want to invest a tremendous amount of money and expand the resort to where we can showcase our health and wellness. In the next year and a half, that’s what we’re going to be working on with them.” Speaking of health and wellness: Those are words Sanchez uses repeatedly, as he believes health and wellness can lead to economic opportunities for the city, and well-being for the city’s population. He spoke with pride about the city’s new healthand-wellness center and the programs it offers. “What you need to have is programming directed toward creating a healthy family,” he said. “To have a healthy family, you have to make sure the kids are seeing the doctor. At the same time, you have to make sure the family is well-educated in health needs. A lot of it is education and preventive medicine. Why can’t we find ways to take advantage of that? All of a sudden, now you’re building a community around health and wellness, so we can get away from what we hear now, which is violence, more crime, and a city government that can’t keep its budget balanced.” Sanchez said that if he gets his way, Desert Hot Springs will keep its police department, and there will be no cuts to education. The painful 22 percent cut in pay for the police department and other city employees will hopefully help save the city’s budget going forward, he said.

Desert Hot Springs Mayor Adam Sanchez: “One day after the election, we’re told … that we have a deficit of $6.9 million. Hearing that right after the election, it’s enough to make you stop in your shoes and start thinking about where this started going wrong—and (why) didn’t anybody notice it?” BRIAN BLUESKYE

On the subject of his narrow win over Yvonne Parks, Sanchez talked about how he refused to believe he’d lost on election night, when preliminary results appeared to show Yvonne Parks had been re-elected. “People were telling me the election was really over,” he said. The number (of votes I was behind) had dropped so quickly, from 97 to 24 on the second day after the election, and people were saying, ‘Oh my gosh; it’s not over yet.’ On the third day after the election, at about 2 p.m., they posted the results and had me up by 12.” Sanchez said he was the youngest of three children to a single mother, and he grew up in the Boy Scouts, learning the value of public service at an early age. He also has a degree in recreation management. “For me, it’s almost like the best time to be here in Desert Hot Springs, building this health-and-wellness initiative that I want to build, to change the overall image of the community to being a positive place for families to live, and for us to be proud of the fact we have the great hot mineral waters, the best-tasting drinking water—and now we have a government in the city that’s engaged and involved to where we care about one another,” he said.




Jupiter, Sirius Dominate at Dusk; Venus, Mars Rule at Dawn

by Robert Victor ebruary 2014 at dusk: The two brightest “stars” at dusk in February are, by a wide margin, steady yellowish Jupiter, high in the east, and bluewhite, madly twinkling Sirius, the dog star, in the southeast. The only other evening planet is Mercury, very low south of west, but it will fade and is on its way to conjunction with the sun. The waxing gibbous moon, four days before full, appears near Jupiter on the evening of Feb. 10. Surrounding Jupiter is the huge Winter Hexagon of Sirius-Procyon-Pollux-CapellaAldebaran-Rigel. The noticeably red star Betelgeuse is also within the hexagon. Find the three-star belt of Orion, the hunter, midway between Betelgeuse and bluish Rigel. The belt, extended southeastward, locates Sirius. Extend the belt in the opposite direction, and turn north a bit, and you’ll find Aldebaran, eye of Taurus, the bull. Go farther to find the Pleiades, or seven sisters—a wonderful sight for binoculars! Rising in the eastern sky, Regulus, heart of Leo, is at opposition to the sun on Feb. 18, and chases the Winter Hexagon across the sky. February 2014 at dawn: This month, Venus attains the peak brilliance of its current morning apparition, which began in mid-January and continues until September. Telescopes and even binoculars reveal Venus now as a crescent, backlit by the sun. Find Venus before sunrise, and keep track of it— and you can have a daytime sighting! It’ll be especially easy on Feb. 25 and 26, when the crescent moon appears nearby. For most of February, in morning twilight, you can observe three planets: Venus in the southeast; Saturn in the south; and Mars in the southwest. In the last days of February, a fourth planet appears, once Mercury emerges from its Feb. 15 solar conjunction on near side of sun into the east-southeast twilight glow. Back-lit Mercury is faint at first, but continues to brighten. Look for these stars within the zodiacal belt: Antares, heart of Scorpius, to the upper right of Venus and lower left of Saturn; Spica near Mars; and Regulus, heart of Leo, in the west far to lower right of Mars and Spica. In the latter half of February, the waning moon in the morning sky will pass all of these, in west-to-east order: Regulus, Spica, Mars, Saturn, Antares, Venus and Mercury.

Evening visibility map at mid-twilight. ROBERT D. MILLER

Other bright stars at dawn are Arcturus, high above Mars; Spica, in the southwest sky; and the Summer Triangle of VegaAltair-Deneb, climbing in the eastern sky. The brightest objects visible at morning midtwilight at start of the month, in order of brilliance, are Venus, Arcturus, Vega and Mars. The red planet nearly doubles in brightness and clearly outshines stars Arcturus and Vega after mid-February. On Feb. 11, the revolution of spaceship Earth around the sun will be carrying us toward Saturn. A week later, on Feb. 18, Earth passes between the sun and Regulus, and that star appears at opposition—180 degrees from the sun. On Feb. 28, Earth is heading toward a point less than 5 degrees above Antares. Looking ahead, on April 8, Mars takes its turn at opposition as our planet passes between that planet and the sun. On May 30-31, three weeks after Saturn appears at opposition, Antares will appear at opposition and be above the horizon nearly all night. Robert C. Victor was a staff astronomer at the Abrams Planetarium at Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs.






Hundreds of Volunteers Help the Palm Springs Film Fest Run Smoothly


By Kevin Fitzgerald t was Day 5 of the 2014 Palm Springs International Film Festival, and I wanted to talk to the leader of the festival’s critically important volunteer team. Of course, this was not the best time for Rochelle Koch to take a few moments to chat with a pesky reporter. To put it mildly, she was kind of busy. However, Koch, who is in her third year as the PSIFF volunteer coordinator, seemed happy to take some time to chat about her “wonderful team.” “It’s my volunteer family, is how I refer to it,” said Koch (pronounced “Cook”), who comes across as a focused bundle of energy. “‘Our Volunteers Are The BEST!’ is what I put on my business card and on my emails—and it’s the truth.” Festival director Darryl Macdonald was also happy to take a few moments out of his busiest week of the year to share his perspective. “The volunteers’ contribution to the festival’s success is invaluable in every way,” he said. “This is one of the top three festivals in the U.S. in terms of attendance, with well over 130,000 attendees last year. So the manpower needed to support 15 screens showing films from early morning until well into the evening each day, the number of hands needed to deal with hundreds of filmmaking and press guests in town, coming and going throughout the festival … there are just so many fronts where extra hands and brains are needed that it is utterly true that without our volunteers, there is no way we could run a festival of this size or pursue the kinds of ambitions we have.” Remember how we mentioned that Koch is kind of busy? Well, we were putting it mildly. “I have over 3,500 shifts to cover at the five screening venues and various events over the 11 days of the festival,” she said. “The main responsibility for myself and volunteer assistant

coordinator David Gray is to manage and schedule volunteers, and making sure all of our shifts are covered when volunteers have to cancel their commitment, because life does happen. “So out of our standing database of more than 2,000 registered volunteers, we have between 700 and 800 working at this festival—and we couldn’t do it without them. They’re wonderful people from all walks of life—a CEO to a dishwasher in a restaurant. They’re from different nationalities and different races. That’s what, I think, gives us our strength.” The volunteers are organized into 19 active teams: Theater Operations, Transportation, Balloting, Special Events, Black-

Palm Springs International Film Festival volunteers take tickets at the Camelot Theatres. From left to right: Karen Long (in background), Mary Anne Mills and Viga Dean. KEVIN FITZGERALD

Tie Gala, Guest Services/Hospitality, Concierge, Credentials, Film Society, Film Review, Front Desk, Merchandise, Office, Opening/Closing Night, Street Team, Village Fest, Volunteer Department, Interpreter and—last but not least—the Lead Team, which supervises the Theater Operations and Balloting volunteers. “We rely on them to take care of everything from taking tickets at the door, dealing with customers at the merchandise outlets, (and helping) our guests in the hospitality suites, to travel support. Literally, we have volunteers who drive into Los Angeles to pick up filmmaker guests and drive them to Palm Springs,” Macdonald said. “There is not a single front of the festival that volunteers are not an integral part of.” Few people realize that the Palm Springs International Film Festival volunteer effort is a year-round affair. In other words, even though the festival is over for 2014, there’s still a need for volunteers. “We have a volunteer corps which helps out in the office year-round, and there’s a preview screening team made up of 16 volunteers who help us critique submitted films as they come in,” said Macdonald. “… We also do the Palm Springs ShortFest each June. It’s the largest short-film festival in North America, and last year, we got over 3,400 entries. So we’ve put together this crew of programming assistants from our volunteer corps. These are people who have long been immersed in film who help us with the grading process by actually watching the films and then recommending which films move forward in the process. It literally takes five or six months even for this group and our staff programming team to watch 3,400 films. “I’m not entirely sure that some of us wouldn’t be wearing inch-thick glasses or be locked in a booby hatch somewhere, bouncing off of rubber walls, if it wasn’t for the help we get from our volunteers.” Only a select few can claim to have been a part of the now finely tuned PSIFF volunteer effort from the beginning. “We have three wonderful volunteers—Dee Thomas, and Sidel and Lionel Weinstein—who come out every season, and they’ve all been here since Sonny Bono started this festival 25 years ago,” said Koch. “And they are all such neat people.” Koch said the volunteers help put the PSIFF a step above other film festivals. “When compared to all the various film festivals in the country, our volunteers have a wonderful reputation for being the friendliest and the most helpful, since they know film themselves, and they know what they’re doing,” said Koch. “All of our volunteers do a wonderful job, and they’re great ambassadors for Palm Springs.” Those interested in becoming a PSIFF volunteer should visit www. People who register will be contacted via phone by a volunteer representative. Also, many other local nonprofit-based events need volunteers; check their respective websites for more information.




News Analysis: Man’s Actions Have Made the Consequences of the West’s ‘Mega-Drought’ Much Worse WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/NEWS

By Paul VanDevelder s all eyes in the West turn to the skies for relief from 14 years of “mega-drought,” as Gov. Jerry Brown put it when he declared a drought emergency in January, this is as good of a time as any for those of us in the West to ask: “How did we get caught between a rock and a dry place, and what, if anything, can we do about it now?” To answer that question, we have to go back to the boom-boom years of America’s dam-building. No politician in the West was a bigger believer in the transformative power of impounded water than Arizona’s favorite son, Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater. Goldwater was the Bureau of Reclamation’s biggest booster in Congress when the agency proposed mind-boggling water projects to tame the mighty Colorado River. Never mind that the Hoover Commission, in a report commissioned by Congress, warned in 1951 that the Bureau of Reclamation would bankrupt the nation with senseless dams and irrigation projects, while holding future generations of Americans hostage to unpaid bills and unintended consequences. At a time when Goldwater and the Bureau of Reclamation were enjoying a Golden Age of water projects, their chief nemesis was an environmental crusader named David Brower. Brower, president of the Sierra Club and founder of the Earth Island Institute, single-handedly led the fight against building Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River. And lost. He called that defeat “the darkest day of my life.” Time and old age have a way of bringing people to their senses. Toward the end of his life, Goldwater took political positions that left most of his libertarian allies scratching their heads in bewilderment. Is Barry going senile? Did somebody poison his soup? No, Goldwater’s public epiphany came about when PBS aired Cadillac Desert, a series based on Marc Reisner’s eponymous book. In the third episode, when Goldwater and Reisner were discussing the adjudication of the Colorado River, the silver-haired Goldwater looked out across the sprawling megalopolis of Phoenix and asked, “What have we done to this beautiful desert, our wild rivers? All that dam-building on the Colorado, across the West, was a big mistake. What in the world were we thinking?” That admission reverberated across the high mesas of the Southwest like summer thunder.

Drought and mankind have taken a toll on the Colorado River—a source of water for millions of people in the West.

A few months later, when Brower and I talked over lunch, I asked him, “What did you do when Goldwater said it was all a big mistake?” He cackled and then let out an expletive. “I reached for the phone and called (Goldwater), and I said, Barry, let’s do the right thing: Help me take out Glen Canyon Dam. He said he would! Then he died a few months later.” Brower died a few months after that. Taking out Glen Canyon Dam would not have altered today’s water crisis in the Southwest, but it would have made a resounding statement. It would have said: “Wild rivers rock.” It would have said, “We should have left well enough alone.” We can’t go back to that America any more than we can return to the days before the Civil War, or to the Indian Wars, and fix things. We’re stuck with the aftermath of those decisions, many of them poorly informed, unwise or downright bad. And, sadly, as the Hoover Commission warned 63 years ago, the consequences will be with us for generations to come. The Colorado River, though, is a special case. It has always been a special case—now more than ever. The drought that grips the Southwest today is the worst in 1,250 years, say some experts, and it shows no sign of releasing its grip. No doubt, the region’s leaders despair over vanishing options. The Bureau of Reclamation has announced it may start rationing water to downstream states by 2015. And no climate model is predicting rain. What in the world were we thinking? Paul VanDevelder is a contributor to Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News ( He lives in Portland, Ore., and is the author of Savages and Scoundrels: The Untold Story of America’s Road to Empire through Indian Territory.





On the Occasion of Her 90th Birthday, Local Media Legend Allene Arthur Tells the Stories Behind Her Stories


BY BRANE JEVRIC fter close to a century, Allene Arthur finally came out about her age. I’d driven Miss Arthur to numerous social events over a period of 15 years. We covered those posh events together—and until recently, I had no clue that she started writing her column before I was born. That’s how good she is at keeping secrets. Well, now we know her age: About 100 people showed up at Seven Lakes Country Club recently to help her mark her 90th birthday. This seasoned journalist started writing her lifestyles/scene column in 1959—and has no intentions of stopping anytime soon. Yes, she’s been covering big events for a long time—including the royal wedding of the (20th) century, of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, in 1981. ‘‘I phoned the story in from London, and it appeared on the local daily’s front page the same day as the wedding,” she told me during our one-on-one at her Palm Springs home. In the media business, things can change in a heartbeat, sometimes tragically, after a story is published. In 1994, Arthur experienced such a moment following an exclusive with Dinah Shore for a local magazine. “Palm Springs Life printed my feature interview with Dinah in which she spoke in present tense!” she said. “Unfortunately, she died just about as the magazine was to hit the stands. There was no time to change her quotes into past tense.”

As the decades went by, Arthur experienced various changes in technology—which, of course, changed the way she did her job. One of the biggest changes came while she was working at the local daily as a society editor. “I was 55 when computers came around, so here at the paper, we went to the classes to learn about it,” she recalled. “Soon, the classes split into advanced and slow ones. I ended up in the ‘dumb’ class—as did the publisher and editor-in-chief, who were

Allene Arthur. BRANE JEVRIC

my generation. “The younger reporters got into the computers faster, and I bet you the fifth-graders would beat us all to it!” Arthur’s personal story is that of a strong-minded woman who raised her son (after a divorce) while working as a single female in a tough corporate environment. The long hours, multiple events to cover and many pages to write—all on deadline—may have left a small impact on her health. “I did have a minor stroke a few years back, but it did not hamper my column-writing in the slightest,” she said. “It was not a downer in that way.” Here, Arthur paused. She smiled, remembering something. “Well, Kirk Douglas had a stroke, too,” her hazel eyes flashed, “but he was so charming and engaging when I was taking his quote, you couldn’t tell.” Allene Arthur has written more than 2,500 columns so far—and that’s just locally! Twice, she said, she quit writing her column. “After both of these interruptions, I’m told there was a considerable letter campaign from The Desert Sun readers that my column be restored. Once again, editors asked me to return to my regular column.” On this rare occasion, Arthur offered an exclusive: She revealed who the hardest celebs were to quote. “Frank Sinatra was, by far, the worst one!” she said. “I’d been at his Palm Springs home several times, covering events he and Barbara hosted. Sinatra was always cold and distant. He hated journalists! Also, another former local resident, novelist Harold Robbins, was so blunt and rude!” President Gerald Ford was just the opposite, according to Arthur. “I was so impressed by Ford!” she said. “He and Betty were at several social events I covered. At one, where he was the guest of honor, we were introduced during the pre-dinner cocktail hour and fell into conversation. He was a gracious gentleman. And I was seated next to the first lady during the dinner.” How does Allene Arthur keeps going? What keeps her feeling young? “I love porn flicks!” she joked with a bright smile. “I never run out of material; there’s just not enough space to publish everything I want!” We talked about the place of columns in American journalism, and Arthur mentioned that her idols were Erma Bombeck and Ogden Nash. That’s when Arthur pointed out an ingredient of the master columnist: “I write for the reader— not the advertiser or the people being written about, but the reader!” It would take up a whole story just to list all of the awards Arthur received for her “first century” in journalism. Instead, I took a picture of her by her “vanity wall.” They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but there’s always another word to be written—until the final column, that is. That leads to my last question for Allene Arthur: When’s the time to quit for good? She answered without hesitation. “I’ll end it when I run out of something to say, or when publishers decide to eliminate me—whichever comes first!”






Images From January in the Coachella Valley

President Bill Clinton drops by the competitors’ driving range at the Arnold Palmer Private Golf Club on Thursday, Jan. 16, during the 2014 Humana Challenge Golf Tournament. Earlier that same week, the Clinton Foundation held its annual Health Matters conference—with the theme of “Activating Wellness in Every Generation”—in La Quinta. PHOTO BY KEVIN FITZGERALD

Haifaa al-Mansour, writer and director of the film Wadjda, answers questions from students at the 2014 Palm Springs International Film Festival’s Student Screening Day, on Monday, Jan. 13, at the Palm Springs High School auditorium. More than 1,000 students from nine Coachella Valley high schools were in the crowd. Earlier in the festival—on Saturday, Jan. 4, to be exact—the PSIFF Awards Gala attracted an unparalleled crowd of celebrities to the valley, including Bruce Dern, who was given the festival’s Career Achievement Award. Later in the month, he was bestowed with another honor: an Oscar nomination, for his work in Nebraska. PHOTOS BY KEVIN FITZGERALD



Sunnylands—the Annenberg Estate—Remains a Gorgeous Haven for World Leaders and Others Concerned About World Affairs By Brian Blueskye




HE CITY OF PALM SPRINGS MAY BE a hotbed of midcentury modern architecture—but the valley’s most exciting example of modernism may be found in Rancho Mirage: Sunnylands, the former desert home of Walter and Leonore Annenberg. “Palm Springs Modernism Week in February is a real celebration of modernism architecture,” said Mary Perry, deputy director of communications and public affairs at Sunnylands. “(Sunnylands) is a very good example of midcentury modernism. It has a lot of the inside/outside feel.” Formerly known as the Annenberg Estate, Sunnylands has hosted eight U.S. presidents. It was the spot of a state dinner between President George H.W. Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu in 1990—the first state dinner ever held outside of the White House. Richard Nixon wrote his final State of the Union Address at Sunnylands, and returned to Sunnylands several months later to wind down following his resignation. During the Islamic Revolution in the late 1970s, family members of the shah of Iran were offered refuge within the walls of Sunnylands. Queen Elizabeth II had a lunch date with the Annenbergs there. The estate hosted a New Year’s Eve party in the house’s atrium that Ronald and Nancy Reagan attended every year for 18 years. The estate was commissioned by the Annenbergs in 1963 and completed in 1966, after they chose A. Quincy Jones and Frederick Emmons to design the house. Jones, a modernist architect, was truly an innovator and a man ahead of his time; his designs were sustainable and environmentally friendly, and many were compatible with surrounding wildlife and agriculture. In fact, the Annenbergs believed their home in Rancho Mirage was “bringing the outside in.” Both Walter and Leonore Annenberg were devoted philanthropists. After Walter Annenberg sold TV Guide to Rupert Murdoch in 1988 for $3 billion, he would go on to give away $2 billion to causes ranging from the public-education system and the United Negro College Fund to art museums. His collection of art, estimated to be worth $1 billion, was given to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art upon his death. The final thing he donated through the Annenberg Foundation Trust was Sunnylands itself. He left $300 million for upkeep and to maintain it as a retreat for leaders seeking to address serious issues facing the nation and the world. It was opened to the public on a limited basis in 2012. With Modernism Week approaching, Sunnylands recently granted the Independent a tour of Sunnylands.


FTER DRIVING THROUGH THE GATES and going down a winding road featuring cacti and gorgeous landscaping, visitors start at the

visitors’ center, which sits on 15 acres of the 200-acre property. When the center opened for limited tours in March 2012, they quickly sold out, yet people still wanted to know what was behind the pink security walls—hence the visitors’ center, which is open to everyone, for free, Thursdays through Sundays. On the day of our tour, a women’s yoga class was slated to take place outside in the courtyard. The garden there includes various cacti and other desert plants; there’s also a meditative labyrinth through which guests can walk. The visitors’ center includes interactive multimedia stations with information on various aspects of the estate; there’s also an impressive 3-D presentation (no glasses required) that shows the construction of the home. I highly recommend checking it out before you hop in the shuttle for your tour. As the shuttle passed through part of the golf course to get to the estate, the guide explained the story behind the pink walls: Leonore Annenberg favored the color pink—especially pink oleanders. In the early ’90s, pink oleanders were starting to die off worldwide; meanwhile, added security was needed for a visit by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher—so when the needed wall was built, it was pink. The wall is not the only pink element of Sunnylands: The pink pyramid-style roof was inspired by the Mayan pyramids, according to our tour guide. When the shuttle pulls into the cul-de-sac in front of the estate, and the doors open, the view is breathtaking. Digitalized replicas of the original artwork that used to belong to Walter Annenberg are on the walls in the same locations as the originals. (The replicas were made by the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.) Original furniture and sculptures are spread out through the atrium. A giant sculpture, complete with a fountain and pink flowers, sits in the middle of the atrium under the skylight. The Room of Memories is a study-like room, with a sprawl of photos of everyone from Bob Hope to various presidents sitting on the shelves. While visitors are given time to inspect the various photos and objects, it’s nowhere enough time to take in all of the details—like the Chinese-influenced art underneath the glass top of a coffee table, for example. The master bedroom suite has a spectacular view of a cactus garden and the grounds. When asked why the master bedroom does not offer mountain views, the tour guide explained that those views were reserved for guests—one of many hospitable acts by the Annenbergs. The guide also said that Walter loved birds so much that he had a microphone placed on a birdfeeder—with the sound sent into his dressing area, so he could hear it every morning as he started his day. The vast majority of the furniture throughout the estate does not have modernist appeal; instead, much of it is what the tour

guide called “Hollywood Victorian.” Walter Annenberg served as ambassador to the Court of St. James, which led to the Annenbergs living in London from 1969 to 1974—and when they returned to Rancho Mirage, they added a royal-themed sitting room to the estate and replaced most of their furniture with pieces inspired by Victorian furnishings. However, they did keep many of their beloved Qing Dynasty-inspired artifacts. In the Yellow Room—a guest room in which the Reagans, Henry Kissinger and Bob Hope stayed—the yellow décor is overwhelming. The guide explained that the Annenbergs almost always had weekend visitors—and only weekend visitors. One of the embroidered pillows on the sofa in this room lightheartedly stresses that the guests will be leaving on Sunday—a personal rule that Walter Annenberg had for visitors to the estate. As the tour ends, visitors are led around the estate’s nine-hole golf course where Walter Annenberg played golf with Ronald Reagan and Charles, Prince of Wales. Leonore Annenberg also enjoyed the course, holding a ladies’ only golf day that included Dinah Shore.


HERE’S NO DOUBT THE ANNENBERGS lived an elegant, expensive lifestyle. It’s hard to imagine what living there must have been like. Today, Sunnylands remains a retreat for world leaders, including a meeting last year between President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping. However, it’s not just world leaders who come to Sunnylands; it is also the site of other types of retreats, highlevel conferences and seminars—all related to world affairs and issues involving education. The Sunnylands estate does not charge for these retreats and seminars. “We partner with the Palm Springs International Film Festival, and we held a two-day retreat here,” Perry said, offering an example of a recent event at the estate. “We hold this retreat for emerging filmmakers from all around the world who come to talk about how film can change the world. So, certainly, their topic fits in with our retreat. We’ve had medical; we’ve had education; and we’ve had

Queen Elizabeth II once enjoyed lunch at the Annenberg Estate.

some health-care retreats focused on HIV and the research that has just come out.” Of course, Sunnylands is a modernist’s dream come true: On 200 acres, the 25,000-square-feet midcentury modern house, with many original art pieces still in the home, is a marvelous spectacle. It’s also a place that’s in demand: Tours require advance booking— and, alas, all of the Modernism Week tours are sold out. (During February, tickets for some March tours will go on sale.) “The reason you have to buy them way in advance is because we always have to be ready for retreats,” Perry said. “… We need to be able to cancel tours if we have to—although we don’t like to cancel tours.” If you do get a coveted tour spot, dress comfortably, and wear comfortable shoes— you’ll be standing for 45 minutes to an hour as you walk through the house. There is no photography inside the home due to what’s explained as national security reasons, but visitors are free to photograph at the visitors’ center. The entrance to Sunnylands is located at 37977 Bob Hope Drive, in Rancho Mirage. The Sunnylands Center and Gardens is open for free from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. Tickets for tours of the house and grounds are released in half-month blocks, and cost $35. For more information, visit

The views and the accommodations at Sunnylands are both exquisite.


More Modernism From Thursday, Feb. 13, through Sunday, Feb. 23, Modernism Week will take over the Coachella Valley with an overwhelming number of events celebrating midcentury architecture and design. We’ve scoured the calendars, and here are five happenings that caught our eye. For a complete list of events, visit—and do so soon, as many of the events will sell out, if they have not already. (As of our press deadline, tickets were still available for these events.) Modern Mambo! At Caliente Tropics Caliente Tropics will celebrate the opening of Modernism Week with—what else?—a mambo party! From 8 to 11 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 13, enjoy a Havana-themed party featuring DJ Alf Alpha; cocktails by Ultimat Vodka; chocolate treats by Godiva; and great food from the fine folks Crave. Tickets are $150; visit Caliente Tropics is located at 411 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs; 760-327-1391. Modernism Week After Dark at the Purple Room Gary and Joan Gand—you probably know them as the Gand Band—have put together an impressive schedule of music at the Purple Room during Modernism Week. On Friday, Feb. 14, the Gand Band will perform a “Motown to Memphis” show featuring Tony Grandberry. The following night, they will be joined by special guests to re-live the music from the iconic 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. On Tuesday, Feb. 18, the Blue Hawaiians will perform on Surf Rock night. Costs vary. For a full itinerary, visit www., or call 760-322-4422. The Purple Room is located at 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Never Built Palm Springs From 1 to 3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15, the Saguaro Palm Springs will host a panel discussion led by Erin Feher, editor of California Home+Design. Panelists include Sidney Williams of the Palm Springs Art Museum; Lance O’Donnell of o2 Architecture; Jennifer Siegal of the Office and Mobile Design firm; and others. The topic of the discussion: the Palm Springs that “could have been.” Panelists will address a series of proposed projects that were—as the title of the event says—never built. Tickets are $15—or for $30, enjoy the talk after brunch at Tinto. Head to www. for tickets. The Saguaro Palm Springs is at 1800 E. Palm Canyon Drive; 760-323-1711. Showing of ‘Mid Century Moderns: The Homes That Define Palm Springs’ At 1 p.m., Monday, Feb. 17, the Horizon Ballroom at the Hilton will host a screening of the film Mid Century Moderns: The Homes That Define Palm Springs. The movie examines the homes of the Alexander Construction Company, which designed homes in Twin Palms, Vista Las Palmas and the Racquet Club Estates. It also takes a look at the Alexander Homes, which have never been shown on public tours. Tickets are $12; get them at www. The Hilton is at 400 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, in Palm Springs; 760-320-6868.


A Fine Art Fair Indeed In Only Its Third Year, the PSFAF Is Making Waves in the Fine-Arts World By Victor Barocas

or four days in February, the Palm Springs Convention Center’s main exhibition hall will essentially become a $100 million pop-up gallery. The third annual Palm Springs Fine Art Fair (PSFAF) will showcase the full gamut of modern and contemporary art from Thursday, Feb. 13, through Sunday, Feb. 16. In just three years, the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair has become a must-go event for art-lovers. From 2012 to 2013, attendance increased from 9,500 to 12,000. This year, Rick Friedman, the show’s organizer, projects attendance will exceed 14,000. Every available inch of the Convention Center’s Exhibition Hall is reserved for art, presented by some 60 participating galleries. Only a quarter of the exhibitors are from Southern California; in fact, participants come from all over the United States and the world. This year, the Palm Springs Convention Center will become the temporary home of galleries from Great Britain, London, Brussels, France, South Korea, Canada and Argentina. The Fine Art Fair celebrates artists both well-recognized and emerging. Artists in the spotlight this year include Karel Appel, Le Corbusier, Fernand Léger, Henry Jackson, Frank Stella, Raymond Jonson, Addison Rowe, Pablo Picasso, Kenneth Noland, Cecily Brown, Eric Orr, Claes Oldenburg, Melissa Chandon, Chul Hyun Ahn, David Middlebrook, Devorah Sperber and Mel Ramos. One of the fair’s central pieces, literally and figuratively, will be Steve Maloney’s “Rideem-Cowboy.” The sculpture was created using a decommissioned Bell JetRanger helicopter and a longhorn-steer skull (which appears on the cover of this issue). Maloney adorned both the inside and the outside with thousands of colored gemstones; it also includes a Swarovski crystal chandelier and old cowhide chairs. Finally, an iPad serves as a virtual flight simulator. (Of course it does!) Palm Desert’s Heather James Fine Art gets credit for bringing Maloney’s work to the fair. Beyond allowing attendees to experience

great art, the Fine Art Fair sponsors educational programs for everyone from noncollectors and novices to the most-seasoned collectors. Here are some of the schedule’s highlights (which, of course, is subject to change; visit for an up-to-date schedule): • Non-collectors and collectors alike can meet the four artists showcased in the fair’s public exhibition, DRY HEAT—4 Artists in the California Desert. On Saturday, Feb. 15, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., the exhibit’s curator, Steve Biller, will moderate a panel featuring Kim Stringfellow, Phillip K. Smith III, Cristopher Cichocki and Scott B. Davis. These artists have been creating site-specific works focusing on the desert’s natural, social and cultural landscape. • Beginning collectors can gain insights from the panel discussion Art of Collecting 101, slated from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15; meanwhile, other programs are geared toward particular interests of serious collectors. From 1 to 2 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14, a panel discussion, The Art of Giving, will discuss the philanthropic aspects of giving fine art to a charitable organization or museum. And on Sunday, Feb. 16, from 1 to 2 p.m., Art as a Legacy will be geared toward those who recognize that their collection needs to be a meaningful and distinct part of their estate. • Palm Springs resident and philanthropist

Harold Matzner will be honored as the 2014 Arts Patron of the Year. Matzner’s commitment to the arts here in the desert is unparalleled; he is chairman of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, chairman of the McCallum Theatre, and vice president of the board of trustees at the Palm Springs Art Museum. Matzner will receive his award at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 13, at a VIP event. • At 5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14, Los Angelesbased photographer Greg Gorman will receive the 2014 Photographer of the Year award. Gorman has developed and showcased his own unique style, shown in everything from celebrity portraits and advertising campaigns to magazine layouts and fine-art work. “I try to capture the essence of each individual,” Gorman says about his photography. When looking at Gorman’s imagery, it becomes clear that his most successful photographs leave something to the imagination. Gorman will be interviewed by Desert Outlook editor Will Dean, following an introduction by actor Udo Kier. • Acclaimed artist Jennifer Bartlett will receive the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award at 11:30 a.m., Friday, Feb. 14. Throughout her 50-year career, this Long Beach artist, now 73, has remained a prominent and controversial force in the creative world. She keeps evolving as an artist: Her work consistently contains both paradoxes and contradictions. Irrespective of medium, size and subject, she creates imagery that requires viewers to take a second look. A mini-retrospective of Bartlett’s work, Jennifer Bartlett: 50 Years on the Grid, curated by exhibitor Imago Galleries (of Palm Desert), will be shown near the entrance to the fair. The Palm Springs Fine Art Fair takes place Thursday, Feb. 13, through Sunday, Feb. 16, at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros. Tickets range from $25 for a day pass to $250 for an all-access black card. For passes or more information, call 631-283-5505, or visit

Hugh M. Kaptur: Gentle Giant of Desert Design The Palm Springs Public Library will feature a free lecture by Matt Burkholz on Hugh M. Kaptur, the architect who will be in the spotlight this year during Modernism Week. Kaptur was one of the youngest of the now-renowned midcentury modernist architects, and was a major force in the Coachella Valley’s architecture world, designing 200 residences, commercial and recreation centers, hotels and other structures. Seating is first-come, first served for the lecture, which begins at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 22; library doors open at 10 a.m. The Palm Springs Public Library is located at 300 S. Sunrise Way; 760-322-7323. —Brian Blueskye Greg Gorman's "Andy Warhol."

The 2013 edition of the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair drew 12,000 attendees.





•• CV Rep's 'A Perfect Ganesh' •• AAP's Dance for Life reaches into the community •• Western Lit: An examination of 'America's best idea': national parks •• February Theater

MIDCENTURY MODERN FILM NOIR Joey English and the rest of the cast of 'Nite Club Confidential' make this musical sing


Joey English stars as Kay Goodman in Desert Rose Playhouse’s Nite Club Confidential.






CV Rep’s Production of ‘A Perfect Ganesh’ Would Do Terrence McNally Proud

By Valerie-Jean (V.J.) Hume hat can you say about a Terrence McNally play? You know before you enter the theater that he’s waiting to spring a surprise on you. But truthfully … this time, I didn’t think it would happen. The story is about “two middle-aged ladies who travel to India.” OK … that doesn’t sound very exciting. But then again, I have friends who travelled to India and were so traumatized by the experience that they still can’t talk about what happened to them there. So was this play going to be about something like tourist muggings or pickpockets? Not everybody’s cup of oolong! I got to Coachella Valley Repertory early for the Wednesday preview (the folks there graciously agreed to let us review the first preview show so we could get this piece into the February print edition); I wanted to study the program. Inserted between the pages was a drawing of Ganesh or Ganesha (either is acceptable—I looked it up) with a microscopic-print explanation of the “symbolism of Ganesha.” It’s worth reading; it describes everything from his trident to his fruit basket to his busted tusk. During this preshow, the audience is treated to an endless earful of sitar music, which will either completely jangle your nerves or transport you off to imaginary India. The set is basic East Indian. The characters are transported from one venue to another by portaging bits and props that symbolically change the locales between scenes. The lights come up on the Elephant God Ganesha himself, half-naked and wearing an elaborate elephant head … which, alas, creates a muffling effect. The actor, Mueen Jahan, enunciates carefully and speaks as loudly and clearly as he can, but the trunk cuts his vocal projection drastically, and imparts a hollow sound. It’s a conundrum: How do you design a mask of an elephant, trunk and all, but not cover the mouth of the actor behind it? This problem resonated through the whole play, as the actor switched from role to role, wearing the elephant mask throughout. It brings us to a question for our brave director, Ron Celona: Did Jahan need to continue wearing the mask even when he wasn’t playing Ganesh? If playwright McNally demanded it, then Celona’s off the hook. Otherwise, couldn’t Jahan remove the mask while playing those other parts, as well as changing his costume, dialect and vocal quality, as he does? Sean Galuszka plays so many roles that we lost count. We see him switch effortlessly from a gay flight attendant to an Untouchable Indian

beggar to a Dutch tourist to a blood-spattered accident victim/ghost to a suave ballroom dancer, and on and on. He owns each role beautifully, and gets to show off his repertoire of voices, accents and looks. This is a superb opportunity for any actor to strut his stuff, and Galuszka, the only non-Equity cast member, gobbles it up; it’s delightful to see the actor’s craft on display. Then we meet the ladies. Margaret, with her amazing red hair and fine features, is played by Sharon Sharth. She appears at the airport at the beginning of the show, snarking and whining and trying to assert herself. We get to watch her grow in this play (playwrights call it “arc,” the loveliest word) as she reveals bits and pieces of her past, and we slowly begin to understand the backstories that made her the way she is— but she starts out as a control freak and your textbook American tourist from hell. Why? Katherine, or Kitty, is played by Kathleen M. Darcy, a gentle brunette. She brings too much luggage, tries to ingratiate herself in India by using her few words of Spanish (implying that all foreign countries are basically just one NonUnited States), and generally drives Margaret crazy. Yet she is the one who eventually launches the quest for “the perfect Ganesh,” and as we learn about the other side of her seemingly golden life, we grow in respect and sympathy for her. Arc, here, too. The crucially important thing to remember is this: A Perfect Ganesh is set in 1992. Think about it. Where were you; what were you doing; what was happening then? That’s the whole key to this play. It was pre-political correctness, so it was open-season on minorities in some places. AIDS was stalking us. Life was dangerously different. That’s how McNally gets us: The shock of the contrast to today’s life. Oh, sure, there are laughs in the script— McNally loves to be downright silly some-

Sharon Sharth and Kathleen M. Darcy in A Perfect Ganesh.

times—but the universal themes that emerge are the real stars of this work. Meanwhile, the actors are so hard-working! These lines are bears. The writing is very cerebral, and the audiences will respond to the ideas rather than the emotion. Don’t look for a lot of action, if that’s your cup of Darjeeling. On this preview night, there were stumbles; for example, a phone rang after being picked up, and a picture came down, but that’ll be instantly fixed by the time the show emerges from previews.

Once again, Terrence McNally sets out to surprise us, to make us remember, to think. That is the real reason for the play, whether or not that’s your cup of chai. And, as always, he succeeds, as does CV Rep. A Perfect Ganesh is performed at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, through Sunday, Feb. 9; at the Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre, 69930 Highway 111, in Rancho Mirage. $40. For tickets or more information, call 760-296-2966, or visit





Joey English and the Rest of the Cast Excel in ‘Nite Club Confidential’


By Bonnie Gilgallon he Desert Rose Playhouse has hit a home run with Dennis Deal’s Nite Club Confidential, a “midcentury modern” film-noir-style musical that’s thoroughly entertaining and features a star turn by valley favorite Joey English. Set in the 1950s, the show offers a look at the somewhat sleazy nightclub circuit of the day, complete with singing drama, a love triangle— and, of course, lots of booze. As the show opens in New York, we meet handsome crooner Buck Holden (the spot-on John Ferrare), who serves as both narrator and emcee. Speaking directly to the audience, he recounts the sordid tale of Nite Club Confidential in flashback. Blessed with good looks but merely moderate talent, Buck must rely on the largesse of mature stars like Kay Goodman (English) to survive. Buck is part of a vocal quartet called The High Hopes, also featuring Sal (Mark Ziemann), Mitch (Ryan Dominguez) and Dorothy Flynn (the lovely Katie Pavao). Kay gets a movie offer in Hollywood and wants Buck—her younger lover and agent—to accompany her. He initially declines, since he’s now busy romancing the more appropriately aged Dorothy, emerging as a star in her own right. The plot moves across both coasts, and to Paris and back, as we experience all the glamour, heartache, jealousy and humor of the 1950s nightclub scene. English and Pavao perfectly capture the legendary rivalry between aging female star and upcoming ingénue, especially in “All Man” (as they’re dressed in identical green gowns). The cast is superb, with each member enjoying at least one starring number. Ferrare is charming and easy on the eyes; he keeps the show moving. His rendition of the jazz

standard “I Thought About You” particularly stands out. It’s impossible not to smile watching Ryan Dominguez as Mitch, who captures the beatnik era in “Crazy New Words.” Special kudos go to Mark Ziemann as Sal, who stepped into the role with only about a week of rehearsal. Those of us who are performers know how tough that is to pull off—and he did not miss a beat. In fact, his solo number “Black Slacks” is one of the show’s highlights. Katie Pavao, as Dorothy, is truly a find. With her raven hair and peaches-and-cream complexion, she looks like she stepped out of a 1950s time machine. The girl has strong acting chops and a voice ideally suited to the musical style of the day; she knocks “He Never Leaves His Love Behind” out of the ballpark. That leaves the show’s star, Joey English. Perfectly cast as the fading, somewhat insecure nightclub headliner “of a certain age,” English touchingly conveys the angst and jealousy Kay feels over watching her career and her love life crumble. English stays in her lower range and doesn’t push too hard vocally, lending a

John Ferrare and Katie Pavao in Desert Rose Playhouse’s Nite Club Confidential.

vulnerability to the character. I’ve seen her in other productions, and this may be the best thing she’s done in the valley. The musical numbers—a mix of old standards (“Something’s Gotta Give,” “That Old Black Magic”), more obscure numbers (“Love Isn’t Born, It’s Made” by Arthur Schwartz and Frank Loesser) and originals by Deal and Albert Evans (“The Canarsie Diner”)—are all terrific, aside from an occasional off note here and there. Special mention should be made of how well the trio (Pavao, Dominguez and Ziemann) handles tight, difficult harmonies. The singers are ably backed up by percussionist Douglas Dean, bassist Eric Lindstrom and pianist/ musical director Steven Smith, positioned just off stage. The costumes by Valentine Hooven and Mark Demry are excellent, as is the simple

set. Previous issues with a creaky stage have vanished. Jim Strait’s direction, the lighting and the sound are all splendid. Now in its second full season, the intimate Desert Rose Playhouse is filling the void left when Palm Springs’ Thorny Theatre closed a few years ago. If Nite Club Confidential is a hint of what’s to come, Desert Rose’s future is quite rosy indeed. Nite Club Confidential is performed at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, through Sunday, Feb. 23, at the Desert Rose Playhouse, 69620 Highway 111, in Rancho Mirage. Tickets are $30 for Friday and Saturday shows, and $28 for Sunday matinees; the running time is just more than two hours, with a 15-minute intermission. For more information, call 760-202-3000, or visit





Renowned Ballet Dancers Reach Out to the Community as Part of AAP’s Dance for Life

By Brian Blueskye ance for Life Palm Springs, a benefit for the AIDS Assistance Program (AAP), wowed audiences at the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Annenberg Theater on Friday, Jan. 17—but several days before the sold-out show, one of the participating dance companies stopped by the Dance Dimensions studio in Palm Desert to offer local ballet students a workshop. That workshop, put on by Las Vegas’ Nevada Ballet Theatre, was part of Dance for Life’s community outreach program, which offers students at local schools and dance studios a chance to work with professionals in the industry. Dance for Life also held several free performances around the community; overall, the event raised more than $50,000—money which will go to the AAP’s food-voucher program, according to an AAP representative. “This is sort of an extension of Dance for Life,” said James Canfield, artistic director of the Nevada Ballet Theatre. “Any outreach and awareness that you can bring into a community enriches that community. It gives these kids an opportunity to work with professionals. … It’s really about awareness, because funding in schools is stretched and limited—and the arts is one of the first things they drop, yet it’s been proven arts can increase self-esteem, discipline and focus. It can do things to help kids in a different way of learning.” Olivia Frary, a 14-year-old from Palm Desert who is a ballet student at Dance Dimensions, was excited about the opportunity to take part. “I think it’s really awesome that we have the opportunity to work with them,” Frary said. “It’s a really great experience and something I’ll always remember—when the Nevada Ballet Theatre came to our dance studio in Palm Desert, California. It’s really important for dancers to see other dancers all the time, so you always have something to look up to, and

someone to have as a role model.” As the students of Dance Dimensions warmed up on balance bars on one side of the room, the Nevada Ballet Theatre dancers warmed up on the other. Students showed signs of nervousness or intimidation—until one of the staff members encouraged them to mix it up with the pros. To start the workshop, Canfield walked around and sized up all of the students as he introduced himself. He immediately asked, “What are the requirements to be a good dancer?” Turns out he had already given the answers to them during a short warmup exercise—and some of the students had already forgotten. “Coordination and balance,” he said. Canfield’s calm teaching method reminded of a Zen master. He adjusted students’ positions, had them work on dance steps and cracked the occasional ballet-related joke. “What’s your favorite children’s book?” he asked some of the students. “Snow White,” one of them answered. “Without the dwarves? I see how it is,” Canfield joked.

Nevada Ballet Theatre’s James Canfield instructs Dance Dimensions students in Palm Desert. BRIAN BLUESKYE

When one student said The Giving Tree, Canfield acted elated, and said it was the answer he was seeking, explaining that the 1964 Shel Silverstein book offers a lesson that applies to ballet: You give your body to the art until your body cannot physically give any more. Canfield stressed to the students that ballet goes beyond dancing; it also takes personality and emotion. Olivia Frary said that fact makes her love the art of ballet. “It’s a really great way to express emotions, feelings, unique qualities and different ideas

through movement without having to say any words,” Frary said. By the end of the workshop, most of the students were tired; many were not used to performing as long and as hard as they had. But despite the fatigue, they seemed happy: It was surely an experience that many of them will long remember. For more information on the AIDS Assistance Program, call 760-325-8481, or visit



ARTS & CULTURE APPLAUDING NATIONAL PARKS Western Lit: ‘To Conserve Unimpaired’ Examines ‘America’s Best Idea’


BY SANDRA ZELLMER n To Conserve Unimpaired, University of Utah professor Robert Keiter provides an unvarnished view of “America’s best idea”: the national park system. Keiter, the country’s pre-eminent legal expert on the subject, tackles the question: Why does the park idea still evoke so much controversy when its value is so widely acknowledged? For one thing, as he explains, it’s not just about parks. “As highly valued and visible public places, the national parks are inherently political entities … reflecting our larger dialogue about nature conservation and its role in our civic life.” Keiter traces the evolution of each major idea that has shaped our vision of the national parks. In the early days, the National Park Service actively sought to improve visitor experiences by attempting to control nature. Not only did the agency suppress wildfires; it also eradicated wolves to protect more “desirable” wildlife, and fed bears garbage “to create an evening spectacle for park visitors.” If it weren’t for David Brower and the Sierra Club, Colorado’s Dinosaur National Monument would have been inundated by the massive Echo Park dam. But they could not stop the Park Service from punching through a network of new roads to facilitate tourism. Brower, in fact, captured the dichotomy of all national parks: “part schoolroom and part playground and part—the best part— sanctuary from a world paved with concrete, jet-propelled, smog-blanketed, sterilized, over-insured (and) aseptic … with every natural beautiful thing endangered by the raw engineering power of the 20th century.” The challenge of conserving those “beautiful things” looms even larger today, as we face the pressures of climate change and ever more people and development. One can’t help but wonder whether the legal mandate governing park management, the Organic Act of 1916, is adaptable enough to endure. In fact, the Park Service’s management ethos did begin to change in the 1960s with the influential Leopold report—by legendary conservationist Aldo Leopold—which recommended that parks be managed to represent a “vignette of primitive America” with minimal human intervention into natural processes. Keiter shows how the Organic Act can continue to accommodate changing views of the national parks while ensuring that

conservation comes first. He points the way toward conserving the parks “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations,” as the law specifies, through science collaboration and a heightened sense of social justice, connectivity and diversity, both human and ecological. Yet, as Keiter concludes, “The parks will always be confronted with new demands and threats, testing our commitment to the fundamental principles underlying the hallowed notion of conserving nature in an unimpaired condition.” This review originally appeared in High Country News. To Conserve Unimpaired: The Evolution of the National Park Idea, by Robert B. Keiter (Island Press), 368 pages, $35



FEBRUARY THEATER Annenberg Theater Rachel York, a singer and actress who played Lucille Ball in the CBS movie Lucy, performs at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 19. $88. Actor, musician and writer Peter Gallagher presents his one-man show, How’d All You People Get in My Room?, featuring stories from his varied acting career—plus a band!—at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22. $60 to $75. At the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760325-4490;

Invasion of Privacy—from Dezart Performs This drama is based on the real 1946 case of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, who was sued by her friend Zelma Cason for libel and the right to privacy. At 7:30 p.m., Friday; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., Saturday; and 2:30 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, Jan. 31, through Sunday, Feb. 9. $22; $18 students, seniors and military. At the Palm Springs Womans Club, 314 S. Cahuilla Road, Palm Springs. 760-322-0179;

Becoming Ava—from Desert Ensemble Theatre This original tribute to the comedies of the 1940s and 1950s was penned by local Tony Padilla. 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28 and March 1; 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, March 1 and 2. $22; $18 students, seniors and military. At the Palm Springs Womans Club, 314 S. Cahuilla Road, Palm Springs. 760-565-2476;

McCallum Theatre Sing-Along Sound of Music is a screening of the Julie Andrews film musical—with subtitles so the audience can croon along—at 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 2; $15. The Moscow Festival Ballet performs Don Quixote at 8 p.m., Monday, Feb. 3; $29 to $69. The Best of Broadway Featuring the Songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber happens at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7; and 2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 8; $25 to $75. Rigoletto, Giuseppe Verdi’s 1851 classic that studies the contrasts between good and evil, is at 8 p.m., Monday, Feb. 10; $49 to $69. Chita: A Legendary Celebration features the great Chita Rivera in a solo concert celebrating her 80th birthday, at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 21; $45 to $75. L.A. Theatre Works presents The Graduate at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 25; $25 to $55. Sally Struthers stars in the classic Hello, Dolly! at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 28; 2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, March 1; and 2 and 7 p.m., Sunday, March 2; $35 to $105. At the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-340-2787;

Blazing Guns at Roaring Gulch— from Desert Theatreworks Blazing Guns at Roaring Gulch … Or the Perfumed Badge: An Ol’ Fashion’ Melodrama, is the latest show by the new Desert Theatreworks. At 7 p.m., Friday; 2 and 7 p.m., Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, through Sunday, Feb. 2. $25; $23 students; special kids’ prices and group rates available. At the Arthur Newman Theatre in the Joslyn Center, 73750 Catalina Way, Palm Desert. 760-980-1455; Coyote StageWorks at the Annenberg Theater The Andrews Brothers, a salute to the swinging ’40s, is performed at various times Wednesday through Sunday, through Sunday, Feb. 16. The 39 Steps, a fast-paced whodunit comedy dubbed “Hitchcock Meets Hilarious,” is performed at various times Wednesday through Sunday, from Friday, Feb. 28, through Sunday, March 9. $39 to $55. At the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-4490; Desert Rose Playhouse The midcentury modern film noir musical Nite Club Confidential stars Joey English as Kay Goodman. 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday, through Sunday, Feb. 23. (The Saturday, Feb. 8, show is a 2 p.m. matinee.) $28 to $30. Diva Dish! With Luke Yankee features the son of Academy Award-winning actress Eileen Heckart telling tales about some of the 20th century’s biggest stars. 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 28; 2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, March 1; and 2 p.m., Sunday, March 2. $25 to $28. At 69260 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage. 760-202-3000; Hairspray Actor/comedian Bruce Vilanch joins Broadway veterans and students from Musical Theatre University in Hairspray. 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1; 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 2. $15 to $35. At the Helene Galen Performing Arts Center at Rancho Mirage High School, 31001 Rattler Road, Rancho Mirage; Indian Wells Theater/CSUSB Palm Desert Events The theater’s Tribute Series continues with Roy Orbison and Reba McEntire at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15; and the Ladies of Rock and Soul featuring Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin and Donna Summer, at 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 21. $40 first three rows; $35 remainder of the house. At the Indian Wells Theater at CSUSB Palm Desert, 37500 Cook St. 760-341-6909; Indio Performing Arts Center Honky Tonkin With Hank and Patsy, starring Bethany Owen and Cowboy Jack Johnson, is performed at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, through Sunday, Feb. 9. One Voice features Bethany Owen and her impressive impressions at 2 p.m., Wednesday through Friday, through Friday, Feb. 14. Just Let Me Vent, with ventriloquist Rob Watkins, takes place at 2 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 19, through Friday, Feb. 21. The aforementioned Bethany Owen does Country Queens, her all-country show, at 2 p.m., Wednesday through Friday, from Wednesday, Feb. 26, through Friday, March 28. All shows $19 to $26. At the Indio Performing Arts Center, 45175 Fargo St., Indio. 760-775-5200;

Palm Canyon Theatre The classic musical Les Miserables is produced by the downtown Palm Springs mainstay, at 7 p.m., Thursday; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, through Sunday, Feb. 9. Confessions of a Prairie B*tch stars Alison Arngrim—Nellie Oleson from Little House on the Prairie— giving “audiences a reality check on the facts of life like no one else has ever done before, but sure as hell should’ve,” at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14 and 15; and 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 16. 9 to 5 takes the adventures of Violet, Doralee and Judy from the movie to the stage, at 7 p.m., Thursday; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, Feb. 28, through Sunday, March 9. $32; $10 students/ children (call the box office). At 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-5123; A Perfect Ganesh—from Coachella Valley Repertory CV Rep’s season focusing on the works of Terrence McNally continues with this show about two middle-aged women throwing themselves into a tour of India. 7:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday, through Sunday, Feb. 9. $40. At the Atrium, 69930 Highway 111, No. 116, Rancho Mirage. 760-296-2966; Theatre 29 Oscar Wilde’s classic The Importance of Being Earnest focuses on country gentleman Jack Worthing and his imaginary big-city brother, Earnest. 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, through Saturday, Feb. 8, with an additional matinee at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 2. The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Town’s Women’s Dramatic Society Murder Mystery, a story about a theater’s opening night gone terribly wrong, takes place at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, from Friday, Feb. 28, through Saturday, March 29, with additional matinees at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, March 9 and 23. $12; $10 seniors and military; $8 students. At 73637 Sullivan Road, Twentynine Palms. 760-361-4151; You Wouldn’t Expect—from Script2Stage2Screen Yve Evans stars in this play regarding North Carolina’s eugenics law, which subjected people to forced sterilization—many of them black women. 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Feb. 21 and 22. $10. At the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert, 72425 Via Vail, Rancho Mirage. 760-345-7938;







These Four New Blu-Ray Releases Are All Worth a Look


TOP 10 LIST for JANUARY 2014


By Bob Grimm Lee Daniels’ The Butler Weinstein/Anchor Bay, released Jan. 14 Director Lee Daniels— prominently mentioned in The Butler’s title (officially Lee Daniels’ The Butler) after a much-publicized lawsuit—delivers a fine emotional wallop with this historical epic loosely based on the life of Eugene Allen, a butler at the White House for 34 years. The character based on Allen is renamed Cecil (played by Forest Whitaker), and the character is given a fictional older son in order to depict a family conflict regarding the Civil Rights Movement. In other words: This film, which shows the butler interacting with presidents from Eisenhower (Robin Williams) through Ronald Reagan (Alan Rickman), is mostly made up. That doesn’t hurt the film’s dramatic significance; it’s an ultimately moving experience. What does hurt the film a bit is the horrible makeup, especially a goofy fake nose for John Cusack as Richard Nixon. The makeup is so bad that the film turns into unintentional comedy when some characters are onscreen. Whitaker holds the whole thing together, and Oprah Winfrey—in her first starring role since her excellent turn in Beloved—does strong work as Cecil’s wife. Other stars playing presidents include a relatively makeup-free James Marsden as John F. Kennedy, and an absolutely covered Liev Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson. This one gathered some early Oscar buzz, but it received no Academy Award nominations. That’s OK; the movie is decent, but its flaws keep it far from greatness. I tried, but I simply couldn’t accept Cusack as Nixon, and Rickman as Reagan. That’s just some silly casting right there. Special Features: A making-of documentary, deleted scenes, a gag reel and a music video are all you get. The Spectacular Now Lionsgate, released Jan. 14 Miles Teller delivers his breakout performance in The Spectacular Now as Sutter, a partying high school senior who everybody loves, but nobody takes seriously— until well-balanced Aimee (Shailene Woodley) comes along.

They start a complicated relationship that is ill-advised at both ends—although sometimes, that can be the best way to start a relationship. Teller is a marvel here, turning Sutter into something far from your average high school screw-up. Woodley, so good in The Descendants, is proving to be one of cinema’s great young actresses. The film is one of the more unique and intelligent takes on growing up that you are likely to see. This is directed by James Ponsoldt, who about a year ago piloted Smashed, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who appears here as Sutter’s sister. Ponsoldt is officially a force to be reckoned with, having made two of the best films of the last two years. Others in the cast include Jennifer Jason Leigh as Sutter’s mom, and Kyle Chandler as his idiot dad. While he only has a couple of scenes, Bob Odenkirk is terrific as Sutter’s tolerant employer. A plot synopsis may make this film seem ordinary—but it’s spectacular indeed. Special Features: Some of the deleted scenes here are quite good. One notable one includes Sutter giving a kid a ride home from a convenience store and revealing some stuff about alcoholism. You also get some short making-of featurettes and a commentary with the director. Don Jon 20th Century Fox, released Dec. 31 Joseph Gordon-Levitt writes, directs and stars in Don Jon, a frank comedy about a sex addict who thinks porn is better than true romance. Levitt is excellent and consistently funny as the title character, a Jersey boy who is quite the stud—yet he finds himself jerking off to Internet porn within mere minutes of having sex with a live woman. His problem comes to the forefront when he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), the first real love of his life—a woman with high standards who doesn’t approve of the porn thing. Gordon-Levitt has given us something akin to a funnier Saturday Night Fever, with porn replacing disco. Yes, the movie is full of porn clips, so don’t see it with kids or a first date, unless you and that first date have some sort of naughty understanding. Julianne Moore is her usual excellent self in a

supporting role, and the shock casting of Tony Danza as Don’s dad proves smart; Danza gets to show some cinematic comedy chops. Kudos to Gordon-Levitt for giving the old dude a shot. Johansson is great, playing a role that gives her a chance to have a lot more fun than she has had in most of her previous projects. This is a triumph for Gordon-Levitt. At the moment, he has signed on to produce Neil Gaiman’s Sandman for the big screen. I think he has some pretty good directing chops, so it would be nice to see him star in and direct the project as well. Special Features: There are a couple of decent making-of docs, and some short films. Prisoners Warner Bros., released Dec. 17 For a good part of its running time, Prisoners seems as if it could be one of last year’s best pictures. It has a good premise and a shocking middle. Alas, the film falls apart a bit at the end, with a finale as stupid as the rest of the film is gripping. Hugh Jackman delivers a fierce performance as Keller Dover, a survivalist who goes into vigilante mode after his daughter and her friend are kidnapped. When a semi-irritable detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) apprehends a mentally challenged suspect (Paul Dano), Dover and the detective go head-to-head on how to deal with him. When the suspect is set free, Dover captures and tortures him. These parts of the film are solid, showing the lengths a parent could go to in order to find a missing child. As for the film’s mystery element: That’s where things fall apart. It strains so hard to be clever that it becomes ridiculous by the time the credits roll. Gyllenhaal is quite good here, even when the screenplay lets him down. The same goes for Jackman and his justifiably maniacal turn. He’s a sharp actor, and he makes the goofy ending watchable. Supporting performances from Maria Bello and Terrence Howard are decent. The movie was shot by cinematographer extraordinaire Roger Deakins, so it looks good. Prisoners is worth seeing for the most part, but it’s a bit of a disappointment.

Vin Diesel in Riddick .

1. Riddick (Universal) 2. Captain Phillips (Sony) 3. Rush (Universal) 4. Runner Runner (20th Century Fox) 5. Machete Kills (Universal) 6. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Paramount) 7. Lee Daniels’ The Butler (Weinstein/Anchor Bay) 8. Last Vegas (Sony) 9. Carrie (MGM) 10. Fruitvale Station (Anchor Bay)

Special Features: You only get a couple of short behind-the-scenes features.







OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA Kevin Wright and the rest of the folks at Redlands' Hangar 24 Craft Brewery emphasize local goodness







A Tribute to Funky, Fruity Mourvèdre


By Deidre Pike f wine grapes made noise, Mourvèdre would hum low and long, like a foghorn thrumming out a warning in the dark, thick stratus. Perhaps a melodic tune would emerge—something a stand-up gal could capture with the strings of her bass. Thum-bum-ba-dum, hum-ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum. If grapes had personalities, Mourvèdre would be the brooding dude standing on the party’s outer ring like a nonsequitur, quoting Sartre and the obvious. “Consciousness is prior to nothingness and ‘is derived’ from being,” he’d say. “Weather forecast for tonight: Dark.” Mourvèdre captures my imagination, and inspires the notes of black and blue paint that are making a muddy glum on my canvas. I’m drinking and painting—or at least using assorted brushes to glop oil pigment on stretched white fabric. I’m brandishing the artistic confidence of a 4-year-old not yet ruined by school. A friend is staying at my place, and we are drinking and painting for fun and obviously not profit. The wine is Twisted Oak’s 2010 River of Skulls, a Mourvèdre from Dalton Vineyards, Angels Camp, blended with nothing. The canvasses are 14 by 18 inches. Billie Holiday’s voice crackles from a vinyl album. My friend expresses concern about working with oil paints. She hasn’t done it since childhood. The canvas is so big, she says. So much space with which to work. I proffer my own lack of expectations as an assurance: Just slather some paint on the pale expanse and reduce its blankness. Replace fear with joy, nothingness with being. Sometimes, a person should think long and hard about choices. Other times, hell, we’re just playing, pretending we can make art. Because we can. Because it’s winter, and we went out on the town last night. Later, we can watch Netflix. I keep our glasses filled. The wine is ruddy red, dirty plum. An unblended Mourvèdre wine is a rare treat, if you like the grape. I love the grape, a Rhone varietal from France most often used in blending with Grenache and Syrah. It’s mixed with these grapes so often that the blend has its own acronym, GSM. About 900 acres of Mourvèdre was grown in California in 2012, a drop in the bottle compared with 80,000 acres of cabernet sauvignon. The numbers are from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You won’t actually see Mourvèdre on the list, because it’s identified as Mataró and also known as Monastrell. Confusing, yes. But the grape is called Mourvèdre on my bottle, so I’m going with that. Some winemakers won’t make a 100 percent Mourvèdre, because the grape oxidizes easily and can attract a buildup of the kind of yeast that gives wine an earthy funk. Now I’m all for a little earthy funk, but I don’t like to feel like I’m drinking wine straight from the compost pile. “Worm castings” is how my friend aptly describes this when she gets a nose full of it at one winery’s tasting room or another. She likes to pretend she knows nothing about wine. It’s a ruse. The River of Skulls has the tiniest smidgen of funk, just enough to accent those dark, rich fruits that I love so very much. Then there’s silky spice and a gruff, lingering vanilla finish. It’s a perfect bottle of wine. Did I mention the label is a red skull?

The wine’s name comes from Spanish Lt. Gabriel Moraga’s discovery in the early 1800s of a Central Valley river filled with, you got it, human skulls. “Perhaps an ancient battle. Or perhaps a really great party gone horribly wrong,” suggests text on the back of the bottle. I bought the River of Skulls in the Sierra foothills just after Thanksgiving, during my Christmas-present wine-tasting adventure with husband Dave. Mourvèdre was on our holiday wish list. A couple years ago, I ordered a glass of Vina Moda’s 2008 Mourvèdre at a restaurant and wanted more, more. Dave and I went to the tasting room and bought two bottles. We drank them both in 2012 and decided that this wine was one of the best we’d tasted that year. Why, oh why, didn’t we buy three bottles? No problem. We thought we could drive back to the Sierra foothills and procure additional deliciousness. We attempted this for my birthday in March. Sadly, when we went to Vina Moda, the Mourvèdre was gone. Sold out. Owner and genius winemaker Nathan Vader suggested a couple of stores and restaurants that might still have bottles. We spent a good part of a day on a futile odyssey in search of the 2008 Mourvèdre. No luck. So when we returned after Thanksgiving and tasted Vina Moda’s 2009 Mourvèdre, we bought a few bottles and put them in safe places. The winery describes its Mourvèdre like this: “She is a lithe and mysterious spider. Shining mirrors of geometrical balance and perfection. Dangerous? Possibly. Irresistibly alluring? Absolutely. Climb into her web, we dare you …” Dare taken. Vader made 123 cases. When he runs out, don’t look at us. I bought only one River of Skulls on this post-Thanksgiving trip. I’ll miss it when it’s gone, a moment that’s fast approaching. Billie Holiday is singing: “The way you wear your hat, the way you sip your tea.” And my friend is singing along: “… They can’t take that away from me.” We’re finishing up the bottle and the better part of two paintings. Mine loosely depicts a bracket fungus on the end of a log, but could also be read as a gelatinous Casper the ghost floating through swirls of grubby ectoplasm. The clean geometric lines of my friend’s landscape—bright rolling grasses and the clean angles of a far-off barn—provide an intriguing contrast.


We put the art in a closet to dry, sip the last of the Mourvèdre, and watch the “Blood Donut” episode of Orange Is the New Black. Art plus wine—that’s easy living. Deidre Pike is an assistant professor of journalism. Catch Sniff the Cap some Wednesdays at




Redlands’ Hangar 24 Craft Brewery Shows Off the Flavors of Southern California


By Erin Peters bout 45 miles northwest of Palm Springs, you’ll find a brewery that has taken off—and plans to reach new heights in 2014. Hangar 24 has an undeniable charm. Perhaps it’s the fields of oranges you pass on your way there; maybe it’s due to the old-school feel of the converted Norton Air Force Base building this Redlands brewery occupies. At the end of a dusty road, with the San Bernardino Mountains serving as a backdrop, the brewery and its large patio is often occupied by a slew of locals enjoying Hangar’s beers. Even if you’re not an aviation geek, it’s is unequivocally cool to watch small airplanes take off and land at the nearby Redlands airport. Hangar 24 is named after the hangar where owner Ben Cook—a licensed pilot—and his friends would relax after a day of flying. Like most brewery owners, Ben started home-brewing years ago and fell in love with the craft and the culture. Cook graduated from the Master Brewers Program at the University of California at Davis after working in quality assurance at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Van Nuys. His background and passion for beer fueled the launch of Hangar 24 in 2008. After rapid growth, Cook hired Kevin Wright, also a graduate of the UC-Davis Master Brewers Program, to be his head brewer. With a background in engineering, this teacher’s aide turned brewer is as humble as he is strapping. When asked who he looks up to in the industry, the Milwaukee native couldn’t say enough good things about Mitch Steele, head brewmaster of Escondido’s Stone Brewing Company. “I can’t say how many times I reach out to others in the industry with a question—and usually, it’s Mitch,” Wright said. Owner Cook got the craft-beer bug years ago while watching a baseball game in Chico, which is the home of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. He tasted the pale ale—and it gave him a taste of what else was out there in the beer world. Hangar 24’s main brew house—including some of the tanks and fermenters—came by way of Las Vegas’ Monte Carlo Casino. When the casino decided to stop brewing its own beer and sell the system, the Hangar 24 folks snapped it up—and the system now gets more use than ever before. In fact, brewers are often on the clock 24-7. In 2013, Hangar 24 brewed a little more than 35,000 barrels—up from 17,000 barrels in 2011, and just more than 24,000 barrels in 2012. According to Cook, they are setting “lofty goals”: The brewery wants to increase production to 60,000 barrels this year, and

100,000 in 2015. The brewery’s flagship beers are its Orange Wheat, Amarillo Pale Ale, Alt-Bier Ale, Helles Lager, Columbus IPA, Chocolate Porter and Double IPA. Hangar 24 rose to popularity largely due to the popular Orange Wheat, which is grounded in local geography and ingredients. This yearround offering sources all of its oranges from the Inland Orange Conservancy/Old Grove Farm Share, a nonprofit co-op with small, local farmers. A massive metal blender purees the local oranges into a pulp before they’re added to the beer batch. It looks like a gigantic Orange Julius, of sorts. Hangar 24’s Local Fields Series includes seven beers that highlight locally sourced ingredients, all in different beer styles. Using classic fare like dates, pumpkins, red-wine grapes, cherries, navel oranges, spruce and apricots, the series showcases ingredients from the high desert to the San Bernardino Mountains. Cook explains that the Local Fields Series essentially started with the Orange Wheat: While technically not in the series, it’s the first beer from Hangar 24 that utilizes locally sourced ingredients. “I never thought the brewery would get this big. When I first started, I just wanted to brew beer and be social,” Cook said with a laugh. “But I set it up so we could grow quickly. I’m always brainstorming—and now that I can see there is a chance we can get bigger, I think about why someone in, say, Wisconsin is going to want to buy our pale ale. They’ve got plenty of pale ales out there. “But the Orange Wheat is super-unique, because we have oranges growing all around us. Redlands and the surrounding area is what created the orange industry in the United States. That’s very authentic and unique, and you can’t really copy authenticity. The idea (of

the Local Field Series) evolved from there. … We’re one of the very few breweries that are sitting in an area that has a lot of farms sitting around it.” When asked if he foresaw the explosive popularity of his beer, Cook humbly and quickly answered: “Not even. No way! “That beer has a cult following now. I get it—I mean, that’s why I like brewing it. Brewing and taking something from down the street and integrating it into the beer, it makes it really authentic and local. People in this area really want to support the groves. … Bottom line: It’s a good-tasting beer.” The first in the Local Fields Series is the Vinaceous, an old ale brewed with Mourvèdre grapes from Wilson Creek Winery in Temecula, and then aged in French oak. The second is Palmero, a fruity Belgian-style dubbel made with Coachella Valley’s own dates. Named after the abundance of apricots used in the mash, Polycot (poly = many; cot = apricot) became one of the brewery’s five best-sellers. Brewed in early July when the Southern California’s high desert apricots are truly ripe and fresh, this beer also epitomizes local. The idea—and the apricots—originally came from a friend of Cook’s who suddenly had seven acres of apricots to share from a house purchase. The 7.2 percent-alcohol beer is Hangar 24’s first American strong ale, with a large portion of wheat malt. Their Barrel Roll Series—a series of barrelaged beers—keeps with the aviation branding theme. Immelmann is the first of seven beers, with the 2013 version coming in at 11.4 percent alcohol. This strong porter is aged for more than six months in single-use bourbon barrels and brewed with oats, cocoa nibs and whole vanilla beans. The Humpty Bump is a Belgian strong golden ale aged in oak barrels with Brettanomyces yeast for eight months. Hangar brews this inviting beer with apple cider from the local Riley’s Los Rios Farms; the resulting beer has notes of caramel, black pepper, apple and some farmhouse funk. Try this paired with citrus salads or nutty cheeses. Pugachev’s Cobra is the third installment in the Barrel Roll Series. This award-winning 13.8 percent Russian imperial stout was first released in December 2011 and has been an annual release since. With intense flavors of dark fruit, chocolate, bourbon and roasted coffee, this brew can be enjoyed now, or shelved to savor in a year or two. It’s named after Victor

Pugachev, a pilot that would suddenly raise his aircraft nose to near vertical before dropping the plane back into attack mode. The brewery will be marking six years of existence this May—and Hangar 24 is celebrating in the air as well as on the ground. The Sixth Anniversary Celebration and Airfest is slated for May 17 and 18 at the brewery, complete with an air show, beer festival, concert series and food-truck festival. All proceeds will go to charity. What’s been the biggest surprise in the brewery’s 5 1/2 years? “I think one of the biggest game-changing surprises to me was, (years ago), me and a guy named Jim Hogarty spent I don’t know how many hours and how many beers getting our original bottling line set up. Eventually, we got it running and started bottling the Orange Wheat and Pale Ale. It was only about a month after that I got a call from Stater Brothers, a guy named Kevin Mackey. I was blown away, because I kept hearing from other breweries: ‘Supermarkets, don’t even think about it; don’t waste your time.’ That was a pivot point.” Hangar 24 loves to showcase the flavors of Southern California—and it’s a blessed thing that soon, many more craft-beer lovers outside of the Golden State will get to enjoy these flavors as much as we do.

Hangar 24 plans to brew 100,000 barrels of Southern California-influenced beer by 2015— way up from just 17,000 in 2011. ERIN PETERS




Restaurant NEWS BITES


By Jimmy Boegle TWIN PALMS REOPENS AFTER FIRE-RELATED 8 1/2-MONTH HIATUS As we briefly mentioned last month: Twin Palms Bistro and Lounge, located at 1201 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, re-opened in late December after a closure of 8 1/2 months. Here’s what happened: On April 9, a small fire broke out in the kitchen of the “comfort food” restaurant. The damage was minor—limited to a fairly small area behind some stainless-steel wall panels, according to co-owner Pat Daltroff—because it was extinguished quickly. Daltroff and his crew thought the restaurant would be closed for days, or maybe a week or two, tops, due to the fire, which Daltroff blamed on shoddy workmanship by a former tenant. Those days or weeks turned into 8 1/2 months. Why? Daltroff, selecting his words carefully, answered thusly: “For whatever reason, the landlord took 8 1/2 months” to make the repairs allowing Twin Palms to re-open. Of course, 8 1/2 months is a long time, meaning that Daltroff and general manager Marilyn Simmons had to almost start over. Simmons—who herself was forced to find another job while the landlord/insurance/etc. saga at Twin Palms dragged on—said that most of the original wait staff has returned, but the entire kitchen staff needed to be replaced. For that reason, the restaurant has been gradually re-introducing menu items and specials during their “soft reopening.” Some of the favorites for which Twin Palms was known and loved are back, including red beans and rice on Monday nights; all-you-can-eat fried chicken on Tuesday nights; and all you can eat spaghetti on Wednesday nights. The restaurant is now open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays—a fact which makes me particularly happy, as I’ve been missing their crab-cakes Benedict all these months. Daltroff emphasized that local government agencies—from the Palm Springs Fire Department, to the permit-issuing officials within the city of Palm Springs, to the Riverside County Health Department—“bent over backward” to help Twin Palms. “They could not have been more anxious for us to reopen,” he said. What’s in store for the future of Twin Palms? “We’re just trying to build our business back up,” Daltroff said. Stop by and help the good folks at Twin Palms do just that, will ya? Call 760-322-3730 for more information. COMING SOON: PHO VU PALM SPRINGS The slow but steady diversification of downtown Palm Springs’ restaurant scene continues! A Vietnamese restaurant is soon joining the figurative fray: The valley’s third Pho Vu will be opening at 285 S. Palm Canyon Drive. A mid-to-late January look in the windows revealed a mostly gutted space, with a few pieces of equipment here and there. In other words, the restaurant is still weeks, if not months, away from opening. The other two Pho Vu restaurants in the valley are located at 79630 Highway 111 in La Quinta, and 34620 Monterey Ave. in Palm Desert—bright spots in a valley where there’s not a heck of a lot of good Vietnamese fare. To our knowledge, Pho Vu Palm Springs will become only the second Vietnamese restaurant on the valley’s west side, joining Pho 533 at 1775 E. Palm Canyon Drive. Visit for more information. COMING SOON: THE TONGA HUT Ever since we saw Tonga Hut’s awesome entry in the Palm Springs Festival of Lights, we’ve peeked in every time we’ve walked by to see if the bar/restaurant at 254 N. Palm Canyon Drive (above NYPD) is open yet—and alas, it has remained “coming soon.” Why are we so excited about the Tonga Hut? Well, it’s the sister bar to the legendary Tonga Hut in North Hollywood, which has been serving fruity Island drinks and other tropical fare since 1958; it’s Los Angeles’ oldest still-open Tiki bar, in fact. While Tonga Hut’s Palm Springs operation was not yet open as of our press deadline, the Tonga Hut Facebook page ( promises that an opening is imminent; watch that page for more details. IN BRIEF On Sunday, Feb. 2, the inaugural Palm Springs Village Market will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the parking lots of the Spa Resort Casino (near Indian Canyon Drive and Amado Road). The organizers promise lots of vintage goods—as well as food trucks! (Hence the inclusion in this column.) The market is slated for every first Sunday, and admission is $5; find more info at … The news release was headlined: “Natural 9 Noodle Company to celebrate year of the horse with specialty dishes.” Thankfully, the restaurant—located at Morongo Casino Resort Spa—is not serving horse. Instead, the eatery, under the direction of executive chef Michael Nguyen, will be celebrating Chinese New Year with yummy special dishes, including a lobster cognac fried rice with Chinese sausage, shitake mushrooms and other goodies ($24); and roasted whole Peking duck with green onions, cucumbers, hoisin sauce and Chinese pancakes ($32). The celebration runs from Thursday, Jan. 30, through Monday, Feb. 17; find more info at






Don’t Miss These Amazing but Messy Mexican Dishes

By Jimmy Boegle WHAT The cordoniz estilo Ernesto (quail, Ernesto style) WHERE Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill, 350 S. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs HOW MUCH $24.95 CONTACT 760-992-5641; WHY It’s one of the tastiest plates of food in the entire valley. I grew up on a cattle ranch outside of Reno, Nev., where quail are ubiquitous. I know a little bit about these birds. Quail are cute. Quail are fast. Quail don’t seem all that bright. And I’d never thought of quail as all that delicious, either. I’d eaten them a couple of times, and those meals were rather unremarkable. The little birds struck me as stringy and insubstantial—a lot of work for not a lot of reward. Flash forward to a month or two ago, when my partner and I were having dinner at downtown Palm Springs’ Rio Azul. We ordered the parrilladas for two ($38.95), the restaurant’s entrée-combination plate. It included a couple of different shrimp preparations, grilled steak, grilled chicken, the usual Mexican sides … and “succulent quail grilled to perfection.” If you’d have told me ahead of time that the quail would be the hit of the plate (over baconwrapped shrimp?!), I’d have told you to lay off of whatever substance was leaving you outside of your right mind. But lo and behold: The quail was amazing. Now, flash forward to my next (and most recent) meal at Rio Azul: Of course I had to get the cordiniz estilo Ernesto (aka the quail Ernesto style; Ernesto Gastelum is Rio Azul’s executive chef). The plate, pictured above, does not offer the prettiest presentation—and, yes, you’re gonna have to get your hands a bit messy. Well, roll up your sleeves, because it’s worth it: This combination of potatoes, onions, peppers, garlic and moist quail parts is fantastic. This dish is fantastic even without that little cup o’ sauce off to the side—but it’s even better when the quail is dipped in that “famous diablo cream salsa.” Don’t let the words “diablo” or “salsa” confuse you: It’s a liquid that’s not all that spicy; instead, it’s rich and luxurious. I don’t know how Chef Ernesto makes these

quail so succulent, so juicy, so packed with flavor—but he does. And the result is one of the best meals I’ve had in the Coachella Valley. WHAT Felipe’s huachinango (whole red snapper) WHERE Maracas Mexican Cantina and Grill, 155 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; also at 72775 Dinah Shore, Rancho Mirage HOW MUCH $20.95 CONTACT 322-9654 (Palm Springs); 321-1001 (Rancho Mirage); (warning: info outdated) WHY It’s primal and delicious. One of the best lines from A Christmas Story (yeah, I know it’s February; please bear with me) comes when the family—their Christmas turkey destroyed by the Bumpus hounds—heads to dinner at Chop Suey Palace, and the enthusiastic staff delivers a whole goose to the table. “It’s … smiling at me!” says Mr. Parker, played by the late, great Darren McGavin—just before one of the waiters helpfully chops off the head. I don’t know where in the Coachella Valley one can get a whole goose for dinner—but I do know where one can enjoy a meal that’s smiling at you—a delicious meal, in fact. Maracas Mexican Cantina and Grill serves up all of the fare you’d expect from a restaurant with the words “Mexican Grill and Cantina” in its name—and some dishes you may not expect, too. One of those possibly unexpected dishes that we here at Independent headquarters absolutely love is the whole red snapper—which, as you can see from the accompanying photo, arrives with something resembling a big, toothy smile. This is not a meal for the faint of heart, nor is it a meal for people who mind getting messy when they eat: This whole fish is coated in “New Mexico flour,” fried and served in all its primal glory. The cooks helpfully slice the flesh in a grid pattern before frying, but otherwise, when it comes to picking this fish apart into edible chunks, you’re on your own. However, all your effort is worth it: The fried fish is moist, texturally satisfying (with a nice mix of soft meat and crispy skin) and, most importantly, delicious. Trust me: When you’re at Maracas eating Felipe’s huachinango, the snapper won’t be the only one smiling at the table.



•• Jane Lee Hooker and their amped-up blues •• The Blueskye Report: From Air Supply to Wayne Newton •• San Diego's Tribal Seeds bring a positive reggae message •• The Lucky 13 •• Fresh Sessions with All Night Shoes

JUST A COUPLE OF GUYS After years of living the rock 'n' roll lifestyle, Sean and Zander now like keeping things simple







The Five Women of Jane Lee Hooker Come to California for Some Western Exposure


By Brian Blueskye ane Lee Hooker is not your average blues band. The New York-based, all-women band features members of Nashville Pussy, Helldorado and Futurex—and they’re bringing their music to Pappy and Harriet’s on Saturday, Feb. 1. The members of Jane Lee Hooker are Tracy Almazan, aka High Top Tracy (formerly of Nashville Pussy and Helldorado); Tina Gorin, aka T-Bone (formerly of Helldorado and Bad Wizard); Melissa Houston, aka Cool Whip (sister of semi-local musician JP Houston); Hail Mary, aka Mary Zadroga (formerly of Wives and Futurex); and Dana Danger, aka Dana Athens. During a recent phone interview, both Almazan and Gorin said it seemed inevitable that they would share the same stage again. “Tracy and I were in Helldorado together in the late ’90s,” said Gorin. “We both played guitar in the five-piece band that was very heavy and guitar-driven. We bonded way back then, and we’re great friends, too. We knew one day that we’d find ourselves back to playing together.” Added Almazan: “This is the first time I’m in a band where everybody is really on the top of their game on their instruments. I get to play with people who are really at the highest level of playing. That’s so much fun, and I’ve never really had that before.” The band has not put out an album and has gigged mostly around New York City, so many music-lovers have not yet been exposed to Jane Lee Hooker. The band’s sound offers a harderedged version of the blues and Southern rock for which both Helldorado and Nashville Pussy have been known. The sound is aggressive—and not traditional by any means. “I’ve always loved the blues and all kinds of other music that weren’t necessarily blazingly

loud and harder,” said Gorin. “The bands that we were in were extremely loud rock bands. When you go through all that, and years of tours with that kind of attitude, even when you go back to playing the blues … we have it in our blood to turn it up very loud.” Added Almazan: “I think that Tina and I have a great love of guitars and blues music. We decided to just play blues tunes together. When you put all these people in the same room who have all these different influences, this is what came out. It’s been really great. It’s got the blues-guitar-playing I love, and the aggression that I love from hardcore and punk music. It’s kind of everything I like rolled into one band.” Gorin shared a story about a conference gig the band played in Austin, Texas. “Somebody from Texas at the conference in Austin said to us after we finished playing, ‘You guys are so New York!’ I was so surprised

Jane Lee Hooker

and said, ‘That’s how we sound? New York?’ I guess it’s the attack, or there’s the anger or aggression that you see in New York. I didn’t realize we were that heavy.” When many people think of women in rock who play on the aggressive side, it’s the “Riot Grrrl” scene of the early to late ’90s that comes to mind—led Kathleen Hanna and her band Bikini Kill, as well as the band Hole. Gorin and Almazan were not fans. “I loathed and hated it. I was never more lost than in that time, and I still don’t like that stuff,” Gorin said. “It was like I was expected to be so happy for them and be like, ‘Yeah, you’re waving the flag for me!’ No, I don’t like that kind of music.” Almazan was in a band called Wives during Riot Grrrl’s popularity. “We were really lucky we were never really grouped in with any of them, because we played so well,” Almazan said. “Instead of opening up for Riot Grrrl kind of bands, we were opening for 7 Seconds and more established male punk bands who showed us

an enormous amount of respect because of our playing.” Jane Lee Hooker should see its fan base grow as the band gets exposed to new potential fans; the band is playing three California dates with The Bluebonnets. When I told them about the rural Pioneertown location and atmosphere of Pappy and Harriet’s, Gorin and Almazan both expressed excitement. “I can’t wait!” said Gorin. “That’s how I picture us being really happy—onstage in a club like that. We’re from Manhattan, which is distractions everywhere, and I just want to play in a honky-tonk.” Added Almazan, with a laugh: “We may not come back to New York. We might just stay there.” Jane Lee Hooker plays with The Bluebonnets at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 1, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit





Sean and Zander Enjoy the Fun and Freedom of Being Just ‘a Couple of Guys’


By Brian Blueskye hen Throw Rag frontman Sean Wheeler and Circle Jerks/ Weirdos multi-instrumentalist Zander Schloss came together to record their debut album, Walk Thee Invisible, in 2011, the two icons of the punk-rock scene showed off a lighter side. More music is coming from them, too: Amid several tours and appearances at festivals such as Punk Rock Bowling and the Muddy Roots Festival, the locals will be issuing a new album this year. Not too long ago, they played their first show together after a short break, at Schmidy’s Tavern in Palm Desert. While Zander Schloss had played a high-energy show with the Weirdos at Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown the week prior, it had been a while since Sean and Zander had played a local show together. They are quite a sight to see: Schloss strums away on his 12-string acoustic guitar while Wheeler sings. It’s just them—with no bassist, and no drummer. The dialogue between Wheeler and Schloss is comical, as they call out their friends in the audience, tell amusing stories, and chat

about anything—say, for example, the boots and clothing they are wearing. The climax of their acoustic-driven show is their song “Retablo,” which they can perform in several different ways—as an extended audience sing-along, or with added dialogue. During a show last year at the Ace Hotel, Wheeler led the audience in a conga line outside of the Amigo Room, out around the

pool, and back in again—all while Schloss played the instrumental part. Wheeler once lived a wild rock ’n’ roll lifestyle, and Schloss has years of experience with successful bands like the Circle Jerks, Thelonious Monster and others. It’s good to see the two musicians now having fun; after all, they’ve paid their dues—and then some. “It’s more of an emotional outlet,” Schloss said about their partnership. “It’s also a great outlet for us to relax and have fun. We enjoy each other’s company without all the personalities of a band. It’s really nice to just have a couple of guys: It’s economical; it’s fun; and we let each other do what we do. Sean does something I can’t do, and I do something he can’t do.” Added Wheeler: “We’re like wonder twins.” While Walk Thee Invisible was an independent release, Schloss said they are currently looking for distribution help for their next album, which is already completed and mastered.

“It’s better than the first record—which is saying a lot, because I love the first record,” Schloss said. “This record is much more soulful. We have different influences, and along the way, it’s become apparent to me what a great soul singer he is. We’re thinking he’s a soul man, so there’s more soul on the record.” Both Schloss and Wheeler said that when it comes to songwriting, they try to share personal stuff to which people can relate. “If you tell them a truth—good or bad—and you’re sincere, I think it transcends whatever comes through,” Wheeler said. “It’s mostly personal experiences. I’m trying to think if there are any songs I’ve written that aren’t directly related to someone I know. You have to be honest—or people’s bullshit detectors go off.” Added Schloss: “If you tap into the spirit, and people are into the spirit, they’ll connect. There are a lot of people who aren’t open to the spirit, and we have to say to ourselves, ‘Well, it’s OK; they’re celebrating their life in a different way. This is the way we celebrate our lives.’” They’re looking forward to a lot in 2014, they said: The new album; their first trip to Brazil, right before the World Cup takes place in that country; and more touring. Their unorthodox, anything-goes touring style includes festivals, bars, opening slots for other bands, and gigs in small towns. “We got together right around the time the economy crashed,” Schloss said. “We’ve actually been thriving. Economically, it’s great, because the travel (for just two) is less expensive. We can go to places where other bands can’t go. We went to Alaska with Flogging Molly … and we went up there a week before to play saloons. We actually took a ferry up the inland passage to Skagway, and took the train that used to take people out to the Yukon during the gold rush. We went into the rainforest and hiked up a glacier. “Now, what bands can do that kind of shit? I’ve been touring with bands for 30 years, and I’ve never had richer experiences than I’ve had with this duo.” For more information, visit, or



The Blueskye REPORT

FEBRUARY 2014 By Brian Blueskye It’s February, and you know what that means: Love is in the air for Valentine’s Day, and it’s also the month of Modernism Week. Here are some local events during our shortest month. The McCallum Theatre is booked solid through February with a ton of events. Cesar Millan will be stopping by the McCallum at 3 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 9. Although his famous show on the National Geographic Channel, Dog Whisperer With Cesar Millan, has ended, Millan is still sharing his techniques and wisdom in the field of dog-training; this live show should be a real treat (no pun intended) for dog-owners. Tickets are $45 to $75. Frank Sinatra Jr. will be stopping by post Valentine’s Day, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15. Although the younger Frank may be best

Frank Sinatra Jr: The McCallum Theatre, Feb. 15

known as the victim of a famous kidnapping, he is a talented performer in his own right, and has also branched out into acting over the years. Tickets are $45 to $85. Boz Scaggs will be at the McCallum at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 18. The sometimes-lead singer of the Steve Miller Band was a songwriting powerhouse in the ’70s and continues to put on a great show. Tickets are $55 to $95. Roberta Flack will be appearing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22. Flack had a No. 1 hit in with “Killing Me Softly With His Song”; The Fugees would return the song to the top of the charts in 1996. Tickets are $35 to $85. McCallum

Boz Scaggs: The McCallum Theatre, Feb. 18 continued on next page ➠



MUSIC continued from Page 35

Air Supply: Agua Caliente, Feb. 14

Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; After a slower January, Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has some fantastic events in the second half of February. If you’re a fan of soft rock, Air Supply will be softly rocking for a special performance on Valentine’s Day, at 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14. Tickets are $35 to $55. The great Johnny Mathis will be appearing at 6 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 16. The romantic-ballads singer has been performing since 1956 and was one of a handful of crooners from his era who survived the wave of rock ’n’ roll. Tickets are $60 to $100. For fans of Jeff Dunham, you’ll be pleased to know that he will be joined by Johnny Mathis: Walter, Peanut, Achmed the Dead Terrorist and the rest of Agua Caliente, Feb. 16 the puppet gang at Agua Caliente at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22. Tickets are $85 to $135. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-9991995; Spotlight 29 Casino doesn’t have a lot of events in February, but there are a couple worth noting. Kenny “Babyface” Edwards will be performing on Valentine’s Day, at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14. The ’80s R&B star has had a long and successful career; not bad for a guy who originally started playing with Bootsy Collins—the man who gave Edwards his famous “Babyface” moniker. Tickets are $55 to $75. There will also be a tribute to Creedence Clearwater Revival at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 21. Attendance is free. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has a spectacular list of events for February. Chicago will be appearing at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7. The band has been around since 1967, and still features four of the founding members. Since Terry Kath’s unintentional self-inflicted shooting death in 1978, the band has experienced a series of ups and downs, but they are survivors and have continued to make great music. Also: In Little Nicky, Adam Sandler discovered a rather hilarious subliminal message if you play their self-titled debut album backward during “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It

Is?” If you haven’t seen it, YouTube it! It’ll blow your mind. Tickets are $39 to $69. CeeLo Green will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15. The singer of “F**k You” (or “Forget You,” whichever version you prefer) has managed to escape the potential one-hit wonder status used to describe his former project, Gnarls Barkley. While Danger Mouse swears that he and CeeLo will make another Gnarls Barkley album, Green’s success as a solo artist seems to throw that into question. Tickets are $39 to $69. Rick Springfield will be performing the following evening, at 8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 16. The soap opera actor and “Jessie’s Girl” hit-maker has a fanatical, mostly female following. He’s still wildly popular and is the subject of a recent documentary, An Affair of the Heart, currently available via Netflix. Tickets are $29 to $49. Fresh out of bankruptcy Rick Springfield: Fantasy Springs, Feb. 16 court, Wayne Newton will be performing at 8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 23. While Newton was the king of Vegas and has remained a music icon, recent photos of him seem to prove that age and plastic surgery don’t always go hand in hand. Tickets are $29 to $49. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway; 760-3425000; Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, per usual, has some good shows booked for February. At 8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 2, Futurebirds will be performing. The experimental indie band recently released a new album, Baba Yaga. They have been described as a “psychedelic country” band and have toured with the likes of the Drive-By Truckers, Widespread Panic and others. Admission is free. At 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14, Pappy’s will host a Valentine’s Day show with Ferraby Lionheart. Lionheart is an indie-rock performer out of Los Angeles. He has some very catchy tunes that will make for a non-traditional Valentine’s Day show. Take your sweetheart to Pappy’s for some pre-show barbecue and then enjoy the show; you won’t be disappointed—plus admission is free. There will be a show not to miss from Moistboyz at 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 27. Moistboyz is a project that includes Dean Ween, formerly of Ween; Nick Oliveri, formerly of Queens of the Stone Age; and vocalist Guy Heller. The project has been around since 1994, when they released their debut album

Chicago: Fantasy Springs, Feb. 7

Moistboyz: Pappy and Harriet’s, Feb. 27

on the Beastie Boys’ now-defunct Grand Royal label. After the breakup of Dean and Gene Ween, it’s not a surprise Dean Ween has resurrected Moistboyz. The current touring lineup also includes Hoss Wright of Oliveri’s Mondo Generator. Tickets are $15. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www. After requesting a list of events from The Date Shed, I was informed that the venue is now heading in a direction toward more private events. However, the venue still hosts shows from time to time. Along with the Tribal Seeds show, The Date Shed has Ozzmania booked at 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7. Ozzmania, a local Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath tribute band, has received acclaim for excellent covers. A true metal fan wouldn’t miss it—plus it’s a free show, so there’s no excuse for not attending. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; The Hood Bar and Pizza has some great local shows going on. At 10 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 6, The Hood will host the second monthly Industry Night, featuring DJ Angelique. Attendance is free. At 10 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7, Mikey Raines Acoustic Movement will be performing, with The Hive Minds opening. Derek Gregg and Sean Poe of the Hive Minds are starting to sound tighter and tighter as they keep playing regularly. Since they parted ways with bassist Patrick “Tricky” Mitchem, they have yet to find a permanent replacement, but have brought in friends on occasion. Attendance is free. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 8, the aforementioned Mondo Generator will take the stage. While Nick Oliveri and some of the members of Mondo Generator are playing with Moistboyz at Pappy and Harriet’s later in the month, this is another notto-miss show featuring Oliveri. At 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14, Long Duk Dong will be returning for a Valentine’s Day Show that will be themed like a 1980s prom. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5520; www. The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs will be hosting Haunted Summer at 10 p.m., Friday, Feb. 21. After a successful show at Pappy and Harriet’s in January, the Los Angeles dreampop duo is happy to be doing a performance for us here in the low desert. The Ace Hotel, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9900;





San Diego’s Tribal Seeds Stay Faithful to the Hopeful Message Found in Reggae WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/MUSIC

By Brian Blueskye lot of great bands have come out of San Diego’s music scene—and one of the latest is reggae group Tribal Seeds, performing Saturday, Feb. 1, at The Date Shed. The band—consisting of Steven Rene Jacobo (lead guitar and vocals), Victor Navarro (bass), E.N. Young (keyboards and vocals), Tony-Ray Jacobo (keyboards and vocals) and Carlos Verdugo (drums)—formally came together in 2005. During a recent phone interview before a show in Fresno, Tony-Ray explained that he and Steven, his brother, were raised on reggae music; in fact, Tony-Ray’s first album purchase was Born Jamericans’ Kids From Foreign. “It started with me and my brother in 2003,” said Tony-Ray. “We were both in high school at the time, and we were just jamming in our garage. We wanted to take it seriously after a while, and we wanted to do it as a career. We decided to find band members who had the same mindset. We had some who came and went, but we finally got a solid group of guys who believe this is their passion, and this is their love.” Tony-Ray said San Diego was a perfect place for them to form as a band. “I think we were blessed to have grown up where we did,” said Tony-Ray. “There’s a strong reggae environment, the whole beach environment, and it just seemed to fit very well; reggae music seems to thrive there. We’re blessed to be from San Diego.” Since 2005, the band has released three full-length albums; the most-recent album, released in 2009, The Harvest, debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard reggae charts. They have shared the stage with some heavy hitters in the music industry, including Gregg Allman; Earth, Wind and Fire; The Wailers; and their musical heroes, Steel Pulse. They have also toured extensively around the United States and the world. Reggae music can be a challenging genre for an American band. While many American groups have given reggae a go, some of the most successful eventually incorporated pop or punk sounds, as Sublime did. However, the members of Tribal Seeds stay fairly true to reggae, and even embrace the spirituality element of the music, rooted in Rastafarianism, the religion that many reggae musicians follow. “A lot of it is Bible teachings and Rastafarian

Tribal Seeds

teachings,” said Tony-Ray. “It’s just something that was in the music we heard while growing up, so we wanted to continue that message. It just seemed natural to us, so the spiritual element for us has been there from the beginning.” While Rastafarianism may be best known (and is often parodied) for its embrace of marijuana, it’s also known—and criticized— for ultra-traditional views of women, the practice of polygamy, and homophobia. Around 2004, the “Stop Murder Music” campaign was launched by a group of LGBT activists who opposed the violent messages in some reggae music; in 2007, a number of reggae artists signed an agreement to fight homophobia. “I’m totally open-minded to however a person wants to live their life,” said Tony-Ray. “If they’re a good person, it makes them happy, and they’re not hurting anyone else, that’s all good with me. There are a lot of older people teaching the close-minded thing. I think times are changing … even in the Catholic Church with the new pope. It’s all about how we’re trying to live—good positive things.” Fans who have been waiting since 2009 for a new album won’t have to wait much longer. “We’re actually close to finishing up our latest album that we hope to release really soon,” said Tony-Ray. “We’re really excited about it. I know it’s been a long time since our last full-length album, and that our fans are anxious—and we’re just as anxious. We’ve got a lot of good artists featured on this one.” I couldn’t help but ask what the backstage ritual was before a Tribal Seeds show. Not surprisingly, it involves some smoke. “A lot of the guys like the green. They like to get a little buzz going just to have fun onstage and enjoy it,” Tony-Ray said. Tribal Seeds performs with Through the Roots, Mystic Roots and Wakane at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 1, at The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., in Indio. Tickets to the all-ages show are $15 to $21. For more information, call 760-775-6699, or visit www.






We Ask Local Musicians Questions. They Give Us Answers.


By Brian Blueskye What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure? Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall. What’s your favorite music venue? I’m going to say Pappy and Harriet’s, for obvious reasons. GUILLERMO PRIETO, IROCKPHOTOS.NET

NAME Big Dave Johnson GROUP Shawn Mafia and the 10 Cent Thrills MORE INFO Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace security man Big Dave Johnson is also the bassist for Shawn Mafia and the 10 Cent Thrills. For more info, head over to www. What was the first concert you attended? Monsters of Rock in Karlsruhe, Germany in 1984. Mötley Crue was the opener, (followed by) Accept, Gary Moore, Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, Van Halen—and AC/DC was the headliner. The crowd was crazy! It’s one of my favorite memories, even though I got into a fight over a girl. What was the first album you owned? The first album I owned wasn’t even an album—it was an 8-track that I got from Kmart, The Knack’s Get the Knack with “My Sharona.” What bands are you listening to right now? The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Ramones, Roger Barrett, some Black Sabbath, The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, The Doors, The Weirdos, and Glen Campbell. I also have this ’60s garage-band psychedelic album that a friend of mine gave me. It’s all interesting and sets the mood for me when I’m nostalgic, getting to working, or when I want to relax and let my mind go. What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get? I get it all: I can see why people like jazz, blues, funk, punk, hip hop, country, indie rock, etc. I like them for what they are, but the best music for me is still that ’60s and ’70s rock ’n’ roll. What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live? Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett. However, if it’s a band that’s current, the Creepy Creeps were a blast. I could see them again and again!

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head? “Look out, mama, there’s a white boat coming up the river,” from “Powderfinger,” by Neil Young; and, “Padding around on the ground. He’ll be found when you’re around,” from “Lucifer Sam,” by Pink Floyd. What band or artist changed your life? How? Two Lane Blacktop, and Brett Balaban. He is like a jukebox, and it’s been so much fun playing music with him over the years—10 years this year, in fact. You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking? Syd Barrett: “What was your inspiration for The Piper at the Gates of Dawn?” What song would you like played at your funeral? “Blister in the Sun” by Violent Femmes. Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time? Pink Floyd, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. What song should everyone listen to right now? Again, “Blister in the Sun,” Violent Femmes.

show at The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., in Indio, with Dirt, which performs the music of Alice in Chains. More info at www.facebook. com/ozzmaniausa. What was the first concert you attended? Deep Purple in Tucson, Ariz. Let’s just say it was a long time ago. What was the first album you owned? Wow … I wish I could remember. I think it might have been Kool and the Gang. What bands are you listening to right now? Pantera. What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get? Justin Bieber and pop—or is that poop? What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live? Original Van Halen. What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure? Anything metal. What’s your favorite music venue? Anyplace metal. What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head? At the moment, since I mentioned Kool and the Gang, it’s “Jungle Boogie.” What band or artist changed your life? How? Ted Nugent. The second I heard “Stranglehold,” my life in music started. I knew I was going to learn and play guitar, and will most likely die with one in my hands. You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking? It’s way too early in the morning for that question … What song would you like played at your funeral? Iron Maiden, “Die With Your Boots On.”

NAME Mark Knapp GROUP Ozzmania MORE INFO Ozzmania pays tribute to the music of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath; Knapp plays guitar in the band. At 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7, they’ll be performing a free

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time? Van Halen, Van Halen. What song should everyone listen to right now? Whatever inspires them!

FRESH SESSIONS WITH ALL NIGHT SHOES: February 2014 Thanks for checking out another FRESH Sessions installment! To keep things FRESH, I will be bringing in various local DJs to guest mix throughout the year. This month, we are featuring our first FRESH Sessions guest DJ! Ivanna Love aka, Cici Ochoa, is a local who has been in the scene for some time now. Ivanna’s style is eclectic; in just one set, you’ll most likely hear tracks from several different genres. She keeps it upbeat; she keeps it fun; she keeps it FRESH. Ivanna is an inspiration with her positive attitude and impressive tastemaker skills. This month’s mix offers a perfect example of the vibe that Ivanna Love brings. She’s a great person who creates great music. So without further ado, I present to you Ivanna Love’s FRESH Sessions, which you can enjoy at Oh, and don’t forget to catch my Cosmic Disco House Party, starting at 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14, at Clinic Bar and Lounge, 188 S. Indian Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. There’s no cover! • Lusine, “Lucky” • Aimlo, “Understand (I Love You)” • Maya Jane Coles, “Something in the Air” • Kartell, “Sierra” • Simian Mobile Disco, “Everyday” • Sharam Jey, “Here I Come” • Alf Alpha, “Planet Rock” (Remix) • Franz Ferdinand, “Evil Eye” (Alan Braxe Remix) • Cut Copy, “Saturdays” • Hot Natured, “Reverse Skydiving” • Ed Ed, “Mulackritze” (Oliver $ Remix) • Crazibiza, “Keep It Comin” Mixed by Ivanna Love; mastered by All Night Shoes.




Across 1 Salon cut? 5 More crafty 11 “Batman” fight scene word 14 1995 role for Kenneth Branagh 15 Jumpsuit hue 16 Chapter of history 17 House funding? 19 “Excitebike” gaming platform 20 Put some muscle into cleaning 21 No-wheel-drive vehicle 22 It may be used in a pinch 23 Occupation with its own category of jokes 25 Disloyal 26 Smoothie ingredient, often 29 On the agenda 30 Winter exclamation 31 Barely make it 35 Compete like Ted Ligety 36 “Her” star Joaquin 37 Meadow murmur 40 Stuffed animal of the ‘80s 42 Dix or Knox 43 First game 45 “The Absolutely True Diary of a PartTime Indian” author Sherman 47 Like pickle juice 48 Moved like a crowd, with “about” 51 “___ of Anarchy” 52 Strip in the news 53 Anthony Edwards, in “Top Gun” 57 Pet Shop Boys song “West ___ Girls”

58 Cause of subzero temperatures in the US in 2014 60 Fr. holy title 61 Cheese in some bagels 62 “Take ___ from me...” 63 “Red” or “White” team 64 Bond’s martini preference 65 Just meh Down 1 Doesn’t throw back 2 Traffic cop? 3 “Frankenstein” assistant 4 Well-liked 5 “___ blimey!” 6 Quirkily creative 7 “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” singer Crystal 8 Latin for “between” 9 Posh exclamation 10 Harrison of “My Fair Lady” 11 The sin bin 12 “Otherwise, I might do something you’ll regret!” 13 Trashed 18 “Electronics, Cars, Fashion, Collectibles, Coupons and More” website 22 Swedish car brand founded in 1945 24 Laundromat fixture 25 Show off “these bad boys” 26 “Frontline” network 27 Early boat

28 Economist’s average 29 Quarterback’s pass, hopefully 32 Corn-centric zone? 33 “Riddle-me-___” (line in a children’s rhyme) 34 Gasteyer of “Suburgatory” 36 The hunted 38 Onassis’ nickname 39 Took in take-out, e.g. 41 Curry and Wilson 42 Hipsters’ hats 43 Get way too into, with “over” 44 Now if not sooner 46 Block you don’t want to step on in bare feet 48 Radiance, to the Secret Service 49 “The Compleat Angler” author Walton 50 Onion rings option 52 “Heavens!” 54 “The Simpsons” character always shown wearing a walkman 55 Six of Juan? 56 Former Montreal baseball player 58 Faux ___ 59 Actor Max ___ Sydow ©2014 Jonesin’ Crosswords (editor@ Find the answers in the “about” section of!



Coachella Valley Independent February 2014  
Coachella Valley Independent February 2014  

The February 2014 issue of the Coachella Valley's alternative news source.